PEABODY — The day police Chief Robert Champagne can begin his retirement comes nigh, according to Sen. Joan Lovely, D-Salem. She represents Peabody and is helping shepherd through the Legislature Mayor Ted Bettencourt’s home-rule petition to remove both police and fire chiefs from Civil Service. The move, theoretically, gives the city more options when they pick a chief.
The needed home-rule petition passed the state Senate yesterday, Lovely said.
“We were able to turn it right around. ... I think in a couple of weeks, it will go to the governor’s desk,” she said.
It’s already passed the House, but procedure requires it now to return to the House for another vote before heading back to the Senate.
“It’s a very thorough process,” the senator noted.
She praised Reps. Ted Speliotis, D-Danvers, and Leah Cole, R-Peabody.
“We work very closely together,” Lovely said, adding that the mayor is kept informed.
Champagne, scheduled to retire at the end of May, is soldiering on, having agreed to stay as the gears of government grind. On the fire side, Chief Steve Pasdon recently punctured rumors that he has plans to leave anytime soon.
If Peabody did the choosing, Gabriel Gomez and not Ed Markey would be the new U. S. senator from Massachusetts. The Cohasset Republican garnered 4,849 votes in the Leather City to 4,701 for his opponent.
The results did not escape the notice of Lovely. Noting past support for people like Scott Brown, she sees a possible trend toward a more conservative, Republican-friendly Peabody.
“That’s why I’m glad I’m a more moderate Democrat,” she said. “It will be interesting to see the next partisan election.”
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