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The police chief vote: Government dysfunction

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Friday, April 5, 2013, 8:57 p.m.
 

Perhaps by now, Kittanning Council will have someone hired to replace retired Police Chief Ed Cassesse.

Monday's effort to do so was a bit of a fiasco.

When councilwoman Kim Fox moved to nominate current policeman Bruce Matthew and it was approved by a 5-3 vote, councilman Dick Reedy objected. He said he thought it was just a vote to approve the nomination and not to agree on the hiring. He had someone else he wanted to put up for the job.

The solicitor wasn't there to help the eight leaders with a decision of what exactly was voted on, so the matter was put off until the lawyer could tell them if the vote was good or whether the matter needs to be addressed in a special meeting.

It was a tempest in a teapot. And as good government goes, this episode falls flat.

A robust discussion about potential candidates prior to the motion and a vote would have helped clear the air, and the public would have felt more confident about the deliberation.

Council President Chris Schiano said council had interviewed current police and outsiders for the job. It would have been helpful to the public, as well, to know what criteria were considered — and why Officer Matthews qualified.

Here's hoping the borough's next police chief will have more respect for the public than council displayed on Monday.

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