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Shutup, they explained: Hooksett's silent police commission
The secrecy in Hooksett continues, only this time there is no plausible excuse for it.
Town officials kept the public in the dark about the Police Commission’s three-day suspension of Police Chief Stephen Agrafiotis last March.
It is common for elected officials to refrain from giving reasons for actions such as suspensions. Certain personnel matters are exempt from the state’s right-to-know law, and many times elected officials either hide behind that legal defense because they don’t want to discuss their actions or they legitimately fear being sued if they talk about them.
The public did not find out about Agrafiotis’ suspension until he made it public by suing the commission. Likewise, the reason for the suspension was revealed only by court documents. (The commission said Agrafiotis had inappropriately used funds authorized for fiscal year 2008 in fiscal year 2009.)
Now the town is without a chief, as Agrafiotis resigned in January.
It’s been nearly six months, so how is the search for a new chief going? Police commission members won’t say.
“I can’t tell you anything else but where we are right now because that’s where we are right now,” Police Commission Chairman Joanne McHugh told The Hooksett Banner last week. Oh, OK, then.
Wait, where are we? “It’s an ongoing discussion,” she said.
If it’s a discussion, then there must be more than one party to the conversation. Who might those parties be? Is Capt. Jon Daigle, the acting chief since January, a candidate? Are there other candidates? Has anyone been interviewed? Have commissioners spent the last six months playing with plastic policemen and watching Keystone Cops movies? No one will say. Why the silence? No one will say.
It ought to go without saying that this is unacceptable. The public deserves to know if the commission is even searching for a new leader for the town’s police department — and if not, why not; and if so, what the status is.
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