Here we go, yet again.
From experience, I can attest that choosing a police chief is one of the most important decisions an elected official will make on the local level. The trust that must be established with this decision sets the overall tone of our village, our summers and safety.
Thursday evening, we saw a Village Board meeting that was filled with anger, distrust and resentment stemming from what should have been an open-and-shut issue of hiring a police chief.
Sitting in the audience, I couldn’t help but reflect on my own frustrations when I sat on the dais, trying to push the hiring process along by calling for a promotional exam. While I was being hushed by members of the board and accused of malicious lies, I did my homework and had a plan to move us forward.
Now, more than ever, it is important to ensure that the public fully understands what my intentions were and just how a portion of the civil service hiring process works.
Normally, when someone is hired from a civil service exam, that person usually has to score within the top three candidates to be selected from the civil service list. However, if you offer an internal provisional promotional exam — such as the one that I called for — you simply have to pass to be promoted.
The test is not any different or more easy to pass, but this process makes it easier to promote from within (advantageous in a community such as ours that needs local, hands-on policing).
I wish I could have been part of this process to help it move forward more smoothly, but, presently, I hope I can, through attention and activism, continue to communicate with concerned residents, and that enough of you will take the time to read, listen and attend Village Board meetings to make your voices heard. The village needs you.
Joseph R. McLoughlin
McLoughlin is a former Southampton Village Board member — Ed.
One fine body…