Acting Police Chief William Quigley said he has told his 15-member staff to “keep calm and chive on” with their jobs, while Cohasset officials wrangle over whether to name him the permanent chief.
The Board of Selectmen voted, 3 to 2, last Tuesday to reject Acting Town Manager Michael Milanoski’s choice of Quigley as the permanent chief. But the majority of the board made it clear that their issues were with the process and with Milanoski.
“This is not about Bill Quigley,” said board chairman Fred Koed. “I just think public jobs should be publicly posted, and should be a fair and open, level-field process.”
He criticized the politicization of the selection, pointing to the petition drives and lawn signs supporting Quigley’s appointment — and the large numbers of e-mails and calls he had received as the swing vote on the board. “This was the first-ever political campaign for police chief,” Koed said.
Quigley, the former deputy chief, has been Cohasset’s acting chief since May 2012, when then-Chief Mark DeLuca was suspended and later let go.
Selectmen had stopped two searches for a permanent chief — the first because it was inadequately advertised and crafted, the second because some board members wanted to wait until a permanent town manager was named.
The board fired its last town manager and is searching for a permanent one. Milanoski, whose contract expires Dec. 31, said he appointed Quigley because he has been doing an excellent job as acting chief.
The town manager has the authority to appoint the police chief, and selectmen can accept or reject the appointment.
The board plans to revisit the issue at its next meeting, Koed said.
“Unfortunately, I’m caught in the middle,” Quigley said after the vote. “It is bizarre. But my focus is on the men and women in the department and taking care of the residents of Cohasset. I’m fortunate to lead a group of professionals, and we’re going to do our jobs.”
Johanna Seltz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.