Lone alderman opposes police chief contract

Chief Sequeira: I do believe it was personal

Despite questions about the newly appointed police chief’s contract being raised by several aldermen, it was only opposed by one.

Fourth Ward Alderman Noreen McGorty made the motion to table the vote on Chief Shawn Sequeria’s contract on Thursday, May 25, saying the two days between a public hearing and the scheduled vote did not allow a full review of details.

At the June 8 aldermen meeting, McGorty didn’t physically attend, but wrote a letter that Board of Aldermen President John Anglace read for the record.

In the letter, she stated that although she voted for Sequeira to be the city’s new police Chief, she did not approve the five-year contract.

McGorty’s letter reads as follows:

“John, I am unable to attend the meeting tonight, however if I were able to be there I would vote against the contract for the police chief. I don’t believe the terms are in the best interest of the city and our tax dollars. This is not personal, and I want to reiterate that I voted to ratify Shawn as Chief at the previous meeting. Lastly, I would like to state formally that I am concerned about retaliation from the police department based on my position on this matter. It will not be tolerated.”

The city’s charter limits a police chief’s contract to a maximum contract length of five years, according to Anglace.

Sequeira said he had been made aware of McGorty’s opposition to his five-year contract with an annual salary of $120,000.

“I had heard that one of the aldermen that was having concerns and presenting a little bit of resistance,” Sequeira said after the meeting. “I welcome anyone to question anything with contracts regarding myself. Everything is open to the public. I’m here just to continue to do my job.”

Sequeira declined to comment on why he thinks McGorty opposed his contract, but said he believes it’s not for the reasons she stated in her letter.

“I don’t really want to comment on speculation of why it was, but i do believe it was personal,” said Sequeira.

The chief said he “extended his hand” to McGorty after hearing that she was “concerned about retaliation from the police department” and said he wouldn’t allow any form of corrupt activity of any scale from his department.

“I hold these guys to the highest standards ever and I think they’ve proven their leadership and I don’t think anyone of them would stoop to that level... God forbid that should ever happen, I would hold them accountable to the fullest,” said Sequeira.

Chief’s contracts are independent negotiations

Aldermen Jack Finn asked John Anglace why the new police chief’s contract is five years rather than the three-year contracts the previous two chiefs negotiated.

Anglace responded by saying that each chief’s contract are independent negotiations.

“By definition, a contract is a negotiation. Chief Hurliman signed off on a contract and we approved it,” said Anglace. “Chief Sequeira negotiated his contract with the city and it’s before us for approval. One has nothing to do with the other and all to do with what the individual negotiates and the city accepts.”