Democratic City Council candidates Meg Cameron and Shari
Punyon today questioned the city council’s plan to have city manager Scott
Pickup appoint a new police commissioner before the end of the year. Current Commissioner
William Connors will be retiring effective Jan. 16, 2014.
Cameron and Punyon propose that the city hire an interim commissioner now, and a permanent commissioner later, after the new council decides the status of Pickup, “either affirming his continuation in that position or making a change,” they announced in a press release this week.
“There has been quite a bit of talk about hiring a new city manager,” Punyon said. “I’m not saying definitely that we want to go one direction or another, but when there is a new city council that will be something raised, especially depending on who becomes mayor.”
“Our city government may be very different in 2014, and only then, when the city manager position is resolved, should Mr. Pickup or his successor chose a commissioner. Rushing into this important choice will only perpetuate our city government’s dysfunction,” said Cameron.
Police Commissioner Connors has served in that position since 2001.
A hiring firm was used to conduct a search for Commissioner then and another firm was contracted to select Connors as the final candidate. Connors’ most recent salary was $144,613 per year, according to the Rye City Review. He announced his retirement, which he called “more of a sabbatical” on Sept. 3. Read more on that here.
“The Rye Golf Club fiasco shows the importance of careful hiring,” Punyon said. “The city should do everything possible to find a police commissioner who can work effectively with both the city manager and rank and file. This is essential to restore trust in the city government.”
They also called for “taking a look” at police services and police department morale and reiterated their call for a review of city operations, discussed here.
Under the Rye city charter the city manager makes all appointments except the positions of city manager and corporation council, which are made by the city council. Four of the seven city council seats will be contested in November. If Councilwoman Catherine Parker is elected to the County Board of Legislators, the new council will select a fifth new member to serve in her seat for 2013.