Thursday, November 15, 2007

Flynn is a Brewer, Déjà vu for Fitchet...

Today, the city of Milwaukee formally offered the job of Police Chief and the Springfield Police Commissioner, Edward Flynn, has accepted.

This has been confirmed by reports from
CBS 3 Springfield and the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel website.

Flynn's acceptance spares the city of the $155,000 it would have to pay in severance if asked to resign, as Sarno demanded.

The Journal-Sentinel news report mentioned the political implications in Springfield, namely that Milwaukee's addition of Flynn to the list was a contributing factor in Mayor Charles Ryan's loss to Domenic Sarno. The Milwaukee report also noted how given that Flynn's temporary successor is already in place, Deputy Chief William Fitchet, Flynn may be permitted to leave sooner than the 30 days his contract requires. Fitchet served in that capacity after former Police Chief Paula Meara was bought off and before Flynn was chosen.

With the election and Milwaukee's police chief selection behind us, it is time for Springfield to move on. It is not necessary that action be taken immediately, but Fitchet cannot effectively run the Police Department with an "acting" affixed to his name indefinitely.

Given that Fitchet was a finalist in the original search, it only stands to reason that to give him the position officially is hardly out of order. Another nationwide search will only yield more drama and more trauma for a city that has been rattled by these recent political/governmental tremors. In other words it's a waste of time. This feeling is shared by Sarno and outgoing City Council President Kateri Walsh, according to the Republican.

That being said, the best tenure to offer Fitchett would be what remains on Flynn's contract. Whenever it was programmed to terminate is when Fitchet's potential contract would end. At that point, there may be a new mayor and God-willing a new city council (ward-rep aside) and we can take stock of the situation. Maybe by then Fitchet will retire or maybe we will have gone through a historic drop in crime and we'll be clamoring to keep him. Who knows.

In the short term, the efforts should be focused on the rank and file in the department. They need effective leadership and the necessary resources. The Control Board can give them that. What their next move will be is anybodies' guess. When the Control Board convenes in January, there will be nobody present who took part in Flynn's selection process.

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