EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Haverhill

May 20, 2014

Mayor, chief want more control of next deputy

Seek council to take job from Civil Service

HAVERHILL — Mayor James Fiorentini wants more control over hiring and firing the city’s next deputy police chief.

Police Chief Alan DeNaro wants to see candidates from outside the Haverhill force apply for the department’s No. 2 job when Deputy Chief Donald Thompson retires.

They are asking City Council to support a measure they said would accomplish both. The council is set to begin considering a request tonight to ask the state Legislature to remove the deputy chief’s job from the restrictions and protections of the Civil Service law.

Taking the deputy chief’s job out of civil service would remove certain protections from the position and give the city more control over the hiring and firing of future deputy chiefs.

Under civil service, applicants take a test and the mayor appoints the deputy from a short list of top scorers. The deputy can then count on having the job until he retires, unless he is convicted of a crime.

If the deputy position is removed from civil service, the next deputy would work under a contract similar to DeNaro’s. If the deputy does not fulfill the obligations of his contract, the mayor could fire him or choose not to renew his contract when it expires.

DeNaro said removing the deputy position from civil service is also the best way to ensure a good pool of internal and external candidates.

The city could, DeNaro said, request civil service applicants from outside the jurisdiction. But he said it would be rare for an outsider to apply under the civil service process.

“Civil Service is not our best option or the most efficient way of getting the most qualified candidate for the position should an opening become available,” DeNaro said in an email to The Eagle-Tribune.

Thompson, 61, is four years from mandatory retirement age for police officers. In a brief interview yesterday, Thompson said he has not made any plans to retire and that he is unsure when he might retire. Fiorentini said he has reason to believe Thompson will retire before age 65.

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