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Council Approves New Police Chief, Assistant Town Clerk

The Braintree Town Council on Tuesday night also heard more about the proposed rezoning at 7-11 Independence Ave. Look to Braintree Patch for more on that issue.

Votes by the Town Council on Tuesday night gave Braintree both a new Police Chief and an Assistant Town Clerk.

Former Deputy Chief Russell Jenkins was appointed to Chief by Mayor Joseph Sullivan last week and received unanimous approval by the council. He will be sworn-in Wednesday at 5 p.m. during a ceremony at Town Hall.

Braintree native Debra Starr, who has been working in the Town Clerk's Office for a little less than one year, was appointed to Assistant Town Clerk by Joe Powers and also received a unanimous confirmation on Tuesday.

"[Starr] is a great combination of a very nice person and a very qualified person," Councilor Charles Ryan said, adding that he appreciated Powers' thorough hiring process.

The end processes of both the assistant clerk and police chief appointments involved requests that the council use its Charter-allowed "same night action" power. Aside from an ordinance, appropriation or loan authorization, the council may accept an item and pass it the same night as long as no councilor objects.

Earlier this month, Councilor Leland Dingee objected to considering the assistant clerk approval in one night. It was then sent to committee and referred favorably to the full council on Tuesday night, delaying the appointment by about two weeks.

By contrast, Jenkins' appointment confirmation was sent to the full council on Tuesday, which immediately referred it to committee. The committee then sent it back to the full council, all within 30 minutes.

The appointment then also required that no councilor objected to same night action to fully satisfy the Charter requirement for mayoral appointments, as outlined in a legal memo by Town Solicitor Carolyn Murray.

"The town council shall refer each name that is submitted to it to a standing committeee of the town council..." the Charter says.

Sullivan said he was grateful for the council's "swiftness" on Tuesday. "Russell Jenkins is prepared to lead our department," he said.

The main difference between the appointments, and why Dingee objected to one same night action and not the other, he said, is that the police chief search was public and he knew the name and credentials of the finalist ahead of time.

"I feel comfortable that I have enough information and the public has enough information," Dingee said.

When Powers first submitted his appointment to the council, he did not identify Starr beforehand.

"The search, interviews, selection and appointment of Debra Starr as Assistant Town Clerk was consistent with the past two processes that I conducted," Powers said.

BRIAN KACEY October 17, 2012 at 04:40 PM
Too bad the clerk lives in Quincy

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