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Dep. PD Chief Candidate Review Halted After Councilor, Mayor Quarrel

Middletown Republican Councilwoman Deb Kleckowski insisted the personnel review committee wasn't given ample time to prepare for such an important decision, while Mayor Dan Drew contends she shirked her responsibilities.

 

The vetting of the city’s deputy police chief was delayed Tuesday when a disagreement between a common councilor and the mayor resulted in an abrupt end to the meeting.

Middletown Republican Councilwoman Deborah Kleckowski, one of three members of personnel review subcommittee, says she received notice of the meeting packet between 3 and 3:30 p.m. Monday, just after the mayor announced his selection of Acting Police Capt. Michael Timbro in a press conference at the police department.

With a common council meeting that evening at 7, Kleckowski charged, there wasn’t adequate time to review Timbro’s qualifications before the personnel review committee meeting Tuesday at 7 p.m. She said with something as important as the deputy chief position, PRC members should be allowed more notice.

At the meeting, Kleckowski said, Mayor Dan Drew, “stood up and was hurling comments. He was enraged.”

The mayor refuted her account. “I never stood up. I never shouted. It’s much ado about nothing.”

Drew said Kleckowski “failed to do her due diligence” by picking up the paperwork in time and reviewing it ahead of the PRC meeting. “That’s her responsibility,” Drew said. The deputy director of personnel, he said, emailed Kleckowski and called her with a reminder the packet was ready to pick up.

“She teaches class,” Drew said. “What would she say if she gave her students an assignment a day and a half in advance then they showed up in her class giving that excuse? As a professor in college, would she accept that excuse?”

Kleckowski wasn’t able to make the regular council meeting Monday because of other obligations.

Only two of the three PRC members, Kleckowski and chair Hope Kasper, made the meeting, which constituted a quorum. The third member, Mary Bartolotta, did not attend.

“This is about process,” Kleckowski said. “Had the past administration provided only 24 hours prior to a council meeting, the Democrats would have gone ballistic.”

In addition, Kleckowski said, how Timbro was chosen over the other candidate, Capt. Sean Moriarty, is information that taxpayers “deserve to know how — the interview process was done — [and] the union deserves to know more than three hours ahead of time.”

Kleckowski, Drew said, is on the council’s public safety subcommittee. “She works with [Acting Capt.] Timbro. She’s had a lot of interface with him in the last one and a quarter years. It’s not like he or his record is a total mystery.”

Her objection was not just about the vetting of the deputy police chief. It was also about changing the job description of a Council 4 AFSCME Local 466 sanitarian. “Christine Bourne, the union president, did not receive the job description change until 3 p.m. Tuesday,” Kleckowski said.

“She’s preventing the people’s business from getting done,” Drew said. “The police department needs to move forward.”

If he is unable to reschedule the PRC meeting ahead of the February common council meeting, Drew will propose a resolution to councilors about Timbro. “Then the full council can vet him right there.”

Council rules state, “the mayor may place a resolution on the agenda whether it has been through committee or not and shall have a member of the council’s name sponsor the resolution along with the mayor.”

PRC members will know by Friday through email if he is able to reschedule the PRC meeting, Drew said.


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wyatt January 16, 2013 at 12:45 PM
Drew's statements about Kleckowski are immature, childish and unprofessional. It appears that if you dare to question or disagree with him, he will smear you in the media. Middletown deserves better than this in its elected servants.
john milardo January 16, 2013 at 12:56 PM
Seriously, why couldn't the Mayor give more time and notice to the PRC members for his appointment? Why not just agree to have the vetting at the next PRC meeting, or call a special meeting? It's not like this was an emergency that couldn't wait.
Middletown Voter January 16, 2013 at 04:11 PM
Seriously, why can't council members stay abreast of current events? As a reader of Patch and the Middletown Press, I knew about this upcoming duty. Why can't Deb? And the mayor is right - she's worked with Timbro and knows his background. What does she need more time for? I believe the mayor when he says that her description of what happened is over dramatized. He does not smear, but speaks the truth - a refreshing change in a mayor, by the way. Middletown deserves better than this from its Common Council.
wyatt January 16, 2013 at 06:57 PM
If a "leader" has a problem with someone, it shouldn't be played out in the media. But thats OK Dan, you got your 2 cents in.
A concerned Middletown Mom January 16, 2013 at 09:22 PM
Mayor Drew is obviously anti-women. No, more to the point he is anti-Republican woemen. He NEVER would have treated Lisa Santangelo this way. Councilwoman Kleckowski is a mother of two young sons. She deserves more notice so that she can attend meetings. Mayor Drew NOT being a woman or a mother would never understand this. I think he was setting her up so that she would fail and then griping about it in the local media. Another insensitive male in a position of power. This is why Middletown needs a WOMAN mayor.
J. Clark January 17, 2013 at 03:01 AM
Ohh yea that what Middletown needs a women mayor, cause thats worked out so well the past... DEE
Judith de Graffenried January 17, 2013 at 10:02 PM
I work with Deb. She is the ultimate professional.
William Wilson January 18, 2013 at 12:35 AM
Shouldn't the council do their due diligence or does that not matter to you since it is an appointment by a democratic mayor. I am willing to bet you didn't feel the same way when a republican mayor went though the same procedure.

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