The City of Quincy has three seats to fill on the Quincy Fire and Police Commission.
Commissioners Charlie Doan, Dick Wentura and Dave Ayers submitted their resignations as a team this week.
Quincy Mayor Kyle Moore said he sees the resignations as a political statement after aldermen questioned the commissioners' recommendations at the December council meeting to renew the contracts of Police Chief Rob Copley and Fire Chief Joe Henning. The commission has the authority to renew or not renew both chiefs' office terms as outlined by the city's municipal code book.
The aldermen questioned whether the commission was conducting evaluations of the departments' administrators. Doan told the City Council at that meeting that both Copley and Henning receive annual performance evaluations. Doan said Thursday that last month's questions had nothing to do with the commissioners' decision to resign as a team.
"Over a year ago, we started talking about stepping down," Doan said. "We agreed that we'd all retire together. All of us have more than 15 to 16 years of service on this commission. This year is a good time to retire because we've accomplished our goals. The commission does not have to test firemen this year since it's required every other year. We feel it's a good time to step down, because we're leaving the city in good position to move forward."
Doan said the commissioners have no ill-will toward the city council nor the mayor.
"I've been a Republican all my life," Doan said. "I have nothing against this administration."
Moore thinks otherwise. He said Thursday that he made a recommendation to the commissioners asking them to institute performance-based measures for the police and fire evaluations. Moore said he also informed the commission that he planned to put someone new on the commission. Moore said he is disappointed by this week's news.
"Which to me is unfortunate because any institution or board is not well-served by a mass exodus of institutional knowledge," he said. "I was hoping one or two members would stay on to train a new person. But at the end of the day it's their prerogative. I'm certainly appreciative that these individuals served their city for so many decades. I think it's one of those things where they worked together for so long as a team, that they preferred to leave as a team."
Moore said people submitted applications during his transition into office for the commission and hopes to begin interviews soon to fill the vacant commission positions within a month.
The Board of Fire and Police Commissioners is a three-member board appointed by the mayor with the consent of the city council. No more than two board members are allowed to be from the same political party. All three current board members were installed by Democratic mayors.
Doan was originally appointed to the board in April 1999 by then Mayor Chuck Scholz.
Wentura was appointed to his first term on the board in June 1987 by Mayor Vern Hagstrom. He was later appointed for a second term by John Spring who once served on the board and was forced to resign once was he elected.
Ayers was appointed in May 1991 by Hagstrom.
The commissioners wield considerable power as it's responsible for appointments to the fire and police departments, hiring of officers and firefighters and oversight of disciplinary issues. It operates with minimal oversight from the the City Council.