By: Peter Larocque – January, 2014
Just because you can, doesn’t necessarily mean that you should unless there is undisputed cause to do so!
I am of the opinion that no mayor should mess with the leadership infrastructure within a Public Safety Department like was performed in the City of Lawrence four years ago. Shortly after former Mayor Lantigua, (I sure do love saying former Mayor Lantigua), was sworn in, he demoted Deputy Police Chief Michael Driscoll to Captain and promoted his campaign manager, Sergeant Melix Bonilla to Deputy Police Chief. I believe the only person who should be promoting or demoting should be the department heads, in this case that would be the Chief of Police! I also do not believe that these positions should be used by any mayor as political ponds to be pushed around like on a chest board.
I tip my hat to newly sworn in Mayor of Lawrence, Daniel Rivera, who recently righted this wrong by demoting Bonilla back to Sergeant. He didn’t stop there, many of you know that Bonilla was indicted and is awaiting trial. Former Mayor Lantigua placed him on paid leave, which also came to an abrupt end. Mayor Daniel Rivera has suspended his pay until after the outcome of his trial. I love justice when it is done right, don’t you?
But I am still not all the way happy. I am of the thought that Mayor Rivera should put back Captain Michael Driscoll as Deputy Chief of Police, completing the righting of the wrong made by former Mayor Lantigua and let the new Police Chief once he is hired, take it from there! This would send the right message to the entire Police Department that there is a new mayor in town and he means to do right by them! They will not be used or pushed around or intimidated by his administration.
I also see some pink slips have arrived at City Hall with more on the way, a cleansing move by the new Mayor that places the building back in the hands of the citizens of Lawrence, a long overdue house cleaning!
I also see on the school side of things that James Blatchford has been made Vice-Chairman of the Lawrence School Committee. With Mr. Blatchford as Vice Chair and Mayor Rivera as Chairman, I see hope for our kids! Maybe we can get our schools back quicker than originally thought with these two gentlemen at the helm. We will just have to wait and see. So much good news, don’t you think??
God Bless you, Peter Larocque
Peter Larocque is a former member of the Lawrence School Committee, you can email him at email@example.com