By Anne O’Connor
SHIRLEY — With Police Chief Thomas Goulden on paid leave as selectmen pursue a closer look into the conclusions of a report on complaints about the department, the board voted unanimously Thursday to name Sgt. Samuel Santiago acting chief.
Santiago will receive a stipend for overseeing the department during Goulden’s administrative leave.
The board also voted unanimously to interview Ed Mitnick of Just Training Solutions, LLC, next week for consideration in investigating the aforementioned report submitted by consultant Jean Heartl.
Chairman Rico Cappucci picked Mitnick because of his experience as a judge in the state Commission against Discrimination.
Goulden was placed on leave Monday after the Board of Selectmen decided to hire an investigator to evaluate the report done after former Police Sgt. Alfreda Cromwell complained that she was mistreated on multiple occasions by Goulden and other personnel, dating as far back as September 2014.
Selectmen received a complete copy of a report done by Heartl in February on an investigation into the Police Department, Cappucci said earlier this week. Prior to the election at the end of January when two selectmen were recalled and replaced, the board had seen only the executive summary of the investigation done in 2016.
“The 29 pages were very disturbing, question mark after question mark,” Cappucci, a former police chief in Shirley, said Tuesday morning, explaining why the board, in a 2-1 vote, placed Goulden on leave. Selectman Jim Wilson voted against the leave.
Said Cappucci of Mitnick, “He can tell us we’re on the right track, we’re on the wrong track.”
Getting the right person to do the job in a timely way is important, Wilson said.
“I agree with Jimmy,” said Selectman Holly Haase.
The board also discussed how much Santiago would be required to work.
“I think you’ll find the sergeant, the acting chief, around a lot,” said Cappucci.
“You come in when you think,” Cappucci told Santiago. “If it’s going well you won’t hear from us.”
After the agenda items were concluded, the audience opened a discussion on a reported release of records that were reportedly used on a blog.
Several audience members addressed questions to Town Administrator Patrice Garvin about information they implied came from her office.
The information did not come from Garvin’s office, Wilson said. He had looked at documents and said they came from the police.
“Do not question my integrity,” Garvin said.
Garvin’s replies were met by disagreement from audience members.
If material was released that should not have been, that should be looked at, Wilson said.
The board voted to have town counsel look into it.
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