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Buck stops at the mayor

Date: 10/24/2013

City Councilors and journalists naturally ask questions in the capacity of their job, according to Mike Dobbs in his Oct. 16 opinion piece, “Are the right questions being asked in the latest mayoral controversy in Chicopee?” But are they the right questions. I may agree where Mike’s leading us here.

It also seems as though all the parties understand, even the mayor, that the questions being asked are the result of a very sensitive murder investigation. It is sensitive for the family especially, and for legal authorities like the district attorney as well. We all want this case to be solved, the risk eliminated, and the perpetrator brought to justice.

However, I think we, as citizens, need to ask critical questions about leadership and organizational management within our municipalities. For instance, in the fair city of Chicopee, who is ultimately responsible for the breakdown of discipline and good order in its police department? Correct. The mayor.

Obviously Mayor Bissonnette is not short on ego or certain talents. And it is clear that he still wants the job. But, if one is tainted politically to the point where his behavior becomes erratic and he can no longer handle the job, then it is time for the people to change how they vote.

Many of us know of several incidences which have negatively impacted the image and operation of the Chicopee Police Department (CPD).

But one can be sure we are not hearing about all the other troubles of the CPD. Even so, the department has likely done much more good for the community than it has created adverse effects during its daily duties. I think we can be sure of this.

So then, where does the buck stop when troubles occur? Well, follow the chain of command upward. Again, the answer is the mayor. His office is where the blame must be squarely placed. One should not continue to boast about who is in charge if he has lost the ability to get the job done. Further, an effective and capable mayor ought to take responsibility, especially when things go bad.

If Mayor Mike Bissonnette keeps washing his hands of serious problems as though he has no culpability, and consistently points his finger at others, then it is time for him to look in the mirror. How many gravely horrific events does it take to know exactly where the problem lies at the end of the day?

Mike Franco