The Andover Board of Selectmen’s legal scheme to remove the town’s Police Department from the Massachusetts civil service system (“Police may shift hiring system,” Globe North, March 18) is outrageous, illogical, and self-serving. The selectmen desire unwarranted, subjective, and complete control over what police officers do while performing their many difficult duties and total silence from the Police Department members.
The citizens of Andover deserve an exceptionally professional Police Department that is under the restraint of civil service. Civil service administers promotional examinations designed by professionals to the members of the Police Department and entrance examinations to citizens and other important services to the town. Civil service professionalized the police services in this Commonwealth, and in the town of Andover.
The selectmen’s decision to remove the Police Department from civil service is against the board’s policy to reduce the town’s operating budget; i.e., the selectmen voted to turn off street lights. If the board decides to withdraw from civil service, the town will have to employ a firm to design and administer examinations, another needless expense.
Civil service removed politics from the police service in Andover. In the event the Board of Selectmen has its way, the members could subjectively select who was going to be a police officer or which officers would be promoted. If some citizens had a son or daughter who wanted to be a police officer in Andover, they would have to befriend some selectmen, the town manager, or the chief of police; campaign contributions inter alia are always helpful.
The outsourcing of the employment positions did not improve the cemetery, and removing the Police Department from civil service does not improve the police service to the town of Andover.
If the citizens of Andover want a Police Department that is subjectively and baselessly controlled by the Board of Selectmen and the town manager, they should contact the selectmen and tell them to secede from the civil service system.
If the citizens of Andover want a Police Department that is professional and executes and enforces the Massachusetts general laws fairly, evenly, and in accordance with the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution, they should contact the selectmen and tell them that the Police Department needs to be under the restraint of civil service.
Fred W. Sunderland Jr.