Tuesday, March 31, 2009

What's Next?

What's next for the Coatesville Police Department in terms of leadership is unclear.

Ultimately -- just like two years ago -- City Manager Harry Walker gets to recommend a candidate for police chief to City Council. It's up to council to support or vote down his recommendation.

As of late last week, city officials did not have a plan for replacing William Matthews, who served as chief for the last two years. Technically, his last day is tomorrow. However, some sources say Matthews has already cleared out of the station. His farewell luncheon was held last Friday in Caln.

City Spokeswoman Kristin Geiger said Walker plans to discuss the matter of selecting a new police chief at the next executive session, which would be April 13 just before the next City Council meeting.

However, if the city intends to implement some sort of search/selection/interviewing process City Council has to discuss and determine such plans at a public meeting. State law only allows council to discuss privately specific employees.

Before exiting under turmoil, Matthews suggested that council fill the vacancy with Lt. Julius (Mike) Canale.

Canale expressed interest in the top cop post over two years ago when the city began its search. However the lack of a bachelor's degree and city residency -- requirements outlined by a search committee -- apparently prevented Canale from applying for the job.

Some on City Council, including City Councilman Kurt Schenk, have said Canale is qualified to be the next chief, now that Matthews has groomed him.

Matthews gave his notice to council as early as February. He later announced his resignation at a City Council meeting during which City Council President Martin Eggleston said the city had no planned course of action for selecting a new chief. And that seems to still be the case.

And now Matthews is gone. Canale is acting as chief. And the city lacks a plan to move forward at a time when crime has been escalating and the city is dealing with arsons and armed robberies. Not to mention spring is on its way and those in law enforcement know what that means for crime.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

An interesting article that I found and it has direct ties with a local university in the Phila area.
Firehouse.Com News
In the past weeks, two firefighters have made national headlines not for saving people but for allegedly setting fires including one that left several people dead.

Firefighters are not alone when it comes to lapses in ethics. It extends to EMS personnel and law enforcement officers as well.

"One single misdeed taints not only the department but the profession," said John Sinclair, chair of the EMS Division of the IAFC.

Firefighters, EMS personnel and police officers are held to a higher standard. When they misbehave on or off the job it becomes news.

The Cumberland Valley Volunteer Firemen's Association decided the issue needed to be brought to the forefront. Following a discussion at a leadership conference a little more than a year ago, a reputation management group was formed, said Steve Austin, past president of CVVFA.

They have met a few times not only to discuss, but also to write a paper on the issue.

Next week, a draft of the group's document will be distributed for review among its members. After revisions, it will be published in training publications.

"It's a best practices' document. We are not preaching," Sinclair said. "It's our responsibility to do everything in our power to prevent bad conduct."

Sinclair, the fire chief of Kittitas Valley Fire & Rescue in Ellensburg, Wa.., said it's essential that departments hire good people. The public deserves nothing less.

"It's up to us to keep bad people out of public safety. As they say, one bad apple can spoil the whole barrel."

Background checks as well as psychological screenings are necessary to make sure people are suitable for the positions. "The days of a pulse and a patch are gone," Sinclair said.

Austin said the committee that's been working on the project include fire service leaders from around the country. "This involved some of the brightest people in the fire service. We believe that the behavior of one affects us all."

He added that every chief needs to take charge to make sure only trustworthy people become members. "This is not a volunteer issue or a career issue. It's a public safety issue."

The CVVFA project has received financial support from St. Joseph's University and VFIS.

Sinclair said when incidents do occur, officials need to be honest. "It's our job to try to prevent it. If it happens, however, it's essential that the issue be addressed."

Committee members understand the media's role is to report the news ?????? good or bad.

Public safety workers are held to higher standards because of the trust involved. They are going into homes or businesses, and dealing with people at their most vulnerable time. Often, they care for an elderly person or child.

As a chief, Sinclair said it's his responsibilities are vast. In addition to making sure his people receive the proper training and go home after the shift, he also is held accountable for their conduct.

"We're not just talking about firefighters setting fires; we're talking about people with substance abuse problems, those involved in fraudulent things or other misdeeds..."

Austin said it's unfortunate that one person can cause trouble for the entire crew. "We have to stand together to protect our reputations..."

Now I will expect comments from both sides of the fence but just take a moment and read the article and don't close your mind just to your own point of view. I would encourage all sides, including City Council and the City Manager to copy this for a tool when making a hiring decision for any public service employee.

March 31, 2009 6:20 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would like to say that we have to thank city council for allowing Mr. Matthews and Mr. Walker to run our City into the ground. Why were they allowed to stay in there positions, without doing there jobs?? Mr. Walker has done nothing for this City, only for himself. They are taking what they can get and at least one is gone/one to go. I wish i could get retirement after 2 years. When is this council going to realize what is going on???? They can't be that dumb or can they?? They say the City is broke. How did they have money to hire the person in codes? Oh thats right that is the Humane Resource persons friend... It doesn't matter there is other City employees laid off, that could have done that job. This use to be a nice City, who would want to move here now????

March 31, 2009 9:57 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the March 31, 2009 9:57 PM poster, what codes person are you talking about?

April 1, 2009 5:44 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think her name is "LESLIE "

A friend of mine told me she and the Humane resources person are related because one of them had a baby to the other ones brother. Sounds like good qualifications ??
That guy Molinie should be canned at the same time they fire Walkins'

Wake up PRES Marty and Ed Simpkins

April 1, 2009 9:27 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a shame that there is no spell check on this website (although spell check would not catch proper names). I'll attempt to translate:
Humane = Human
Molinie = Molina
Walkins = Walker
Simpkins = Simpson

Don't disagree with you, but wish we could all understand what you are saying.

April 1, 2009 9:46 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very interesting article anon. You can google coatesville and fires, and you will come up with this and many other articles with the same content. In fact, most google searches right now on our town bring up some very negative information.

Perhaps our public relations person can put some information out there on the net that is positive......not. I am another person that does not believe that we need a city spokesperson.

What we do need is a council and city government that listens to the residents of the city. Right now the only way we can voice our opinion is on this site, how much time do we have in council meetings. Who takes us seriously when we do complain? We are not as apathetic as we are made out to be in the local and Philly area news media. What we are is SICK and TIRED of taxation and no representation.

Can't wait for the forum on the candidates. Not sure just who is qualified for top policeman, but it needs to be addressed and soon.

Anon, this can still be a nice city. It will be!

April 1, 2009 3:42 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

p.s. to keep things straight... "LESLIE" works in the finance department

April 1, 2009 6:09 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

dear anonymous,

before you write on this blog you should really get your facts straight so you don't look like such an idiot......the "leslie" in the finance department has worked there for 14 years........

April 8, 2009 12:33 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is also a Leslie that works for the codes dept.

April 10, 2009 7:20 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why not look at the other Lt. who actually has a college degree ?
I think that by putting Lt. Chesko in charge would finally give the dept. a qualified leader and not another pupet for walker. Yes Canale is just that , a puppet.

April 11, 2009 10:57 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with giving the job to Lt. Chesko, and the positive spin the press could finally give Coatesville would be a God send.

April 11, 2009 10:59 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

how could someone who was never a cop "groom" another ? Sounds like another unqualified cheif is on the way.

April 11, 2009 11:02 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about them throwing a luncheon for Matthews in Caln. Why didn't they throw it somewhere in Coatesville. Like hmm let me see the quaint bistro or that hip new... oops there aren't anyplaces like that in Coatesville.
On another note they wouldn't hire Canle for police chief two years ago because he didn't live in the city? When they hired Matthews what part of the city was he residing in? hmmmm is it me or what?

April 12, 2009 9:00 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i believe that the chief had to be willing to move to the city. canale refused to do so. matthews moved to millview i think.

April 12, 2009 2:11 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Lt Cancale & Lt Chesko would make a good chief.They should of never hired Matthews in the first place.

April 13, 2009 7:50 AM 

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