By Alex Malm
During the Nov. 4 Chester Board of Selectmen meeting the Selectmen heard from Police Chief Aaron Berube in regards to the department’s proposed budget.
One of the major items that has been discussed over the past few meetings was in regards to making the detective position full-time.
It was explained by Berube that Detective Kennedy Richard issued his intent to resign from the position.
While he originally was going to resign Nov. 1, Berube said that he agreed to stay on until Dec. 1.
Although the position is currently less than full-time Berube said that he wants the Board of Selectmen to consider making it a full-time position. He said that Richard recommended it because of the amount of cases making it overwhelming in a part-time role.
Currently the line item in the budget is for $51,000 for the 30 hour a week position but Berube was seeking $62,234 for the position next year to make it full-time. They would also need to budget for benefits since the position doesn’t offer any currently since it’s not full-time.
Selectmen Stephen D’Angelo said that he wanted to hold off on voting to make it full-time.
“The discussion I want to have would be in non-public,” he said.
He asked Berube if he does any detective work himself.
Berube said he does every day.
“Then why aren’t you picking up the ball on this,” D’Angelo asked.
Berube questioned how his other duties as the police chief would be handled.
“Where would my other duties be taken care of,” he said.
D’Angelo responded by saying “we don’t even know what you do on a day to day basis.”
“Then Steve, fire me,” Berube said in response.
Berube said that he was presenting the idea of making it a full-time position now because he wants to take advantage of the current detective helping with catching the new person up to speed with cases and to help identify viable candidates.
“If we can’t move forward with it, we can’t move forward with it,” Berube said.
Selectmen Stephen Landau also brought up another possible change for this year’s budget.
Previously the police department and the Recreation Department proposed moving the line item for the park ranger position from the police department’s budget to the recreation budget.
Landau explained that he doesn’t believe the ranger can be supervised by non-law enforcement personnel.
“I think that’s a mistake,” he said. “I don’t believe it belongs in recreation.”
Landau said that he thought that it either needs to be under the animal control budget or the police department’s.
“I would really like us to consider that,” he said.
Berube explained that over the years the park ranger has had multiple bosses telling him what to do and said that since the majority of the day to day supervision is done by the Recreation Department they thought that it would be best to budget it for that department.
He noted that many other communities across the State have that position under the recreation department because they generally provide more services for the recreation department than they do for law enforcement.
One question that was asked by Chairman Chuck Myette was if the park ranger has the ability to write someone a ticket or issue warnings.
Berube said that they are able to for animal control issues.
“Then move it to ACO,” Landau said.
Berube said that the issue of the park ranger having multiple supervisors wouldn’t change by moving the line item from one budget to another.
The next Chester Board of Selectmen meeting is slated for Nov.18 at 7 p.m.