“This was one of the first items that passed my office as a new state representative, and I was excited to take the lead,” said Rep. Leah Cole (R-Peabody), also in a press release. She cited the work of Speliotis and Lovely and added, “It’s always great when we can come together to help the city.”
”It’s a good thing,” said City Council President Tom Gould. “It gives the mayor some flexibility in getting the right person to replace the police chief or the fire chief.”
Champagne’s retirement was scheduled to begin in June, but he stayed on at the request of the mayor, who was waiting for the legislation to pass. Fire Chief Steve Pasdon has expressed no desire to retire, and as he was hired under civil service, he remains subject to its rules.
In the past, Bettencourt has complained that the civil service system locks him into choosing between the three top scorers on a standardized test with few other criteria. Additionally, outside of civil service, chiefs can be given contracts and removed more easily.
Staff writer Alan Burke can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.