Board Wants Time to Discuss Police Post

The Brentwood Board of Aldermen meet last night at city hall. (Photo by Steve Bowman)

Kelly’s appointment rejected, with apologies to Fitzgerald

By Steve Bowman
Editor, The Brentwood Spirit

Interim police chief Dan Fitzgerald at the Feb. 3 board of aldermen meeting.
Mayor Pat Kelly at the Feb. 3 board of aldermen meeting.
Alderwoman Maureen Saunders at last night’s meeting.
Alderman Keith Robertson at the March 3 board meeting.
Alderman Thomas Kramer at the March 3 meeting.
Alderman Anthony Harper at the March 3 meeting.
Alderman Lee Wynn at the Feb. 3 board meeting.

Brentwood Mayor Pat Kelly surprised most of the members of the board of aldermen last night by asking them to approve his appointment of Dan Fitzgerald as the police chief. They rejected his request by a 4-3 vote, with most of the dissenters saying the matter needed more discussion

Several board members sounded apologetic to Fitzgerald, who was in the room.

“I think he’d be a great candidate,” said alderwoman Maureen Saunders. “I just don’t think it should be [proposed] at the last minute. So it’s nothing against you, Dan, I just think it needs to be discussed.”

About his “no” vote, alderman Keith Robertson explained, “This was not a vote against Dan Fitzgerald. This was a vote for a process we need to do.”

Kelly appointed Fitzgerald as the interim police chief in February after then-chief Steve Disbennett announced he would retire effective April 1. Fitzgerald has been with the Brentwood Police Department for 31 years, most recently as the assistant chief.

The vote was not on the meeting agenda. Kelly said he had discussed his intention to recommend Fitzgerald only with City Administrator Bola Akande and alderman Lee Wynn, who is on the city’s public safety committee.

After making the recommendation to the board, Kelly explained, “We talked about going through a process [but] the more I thought about it I didn’t see any reason to do that when I thought that we have a good candidate here. I’ve always believed in promoting from within and I think Dan will do an outstanding job and deserves the opportunity to serve as our police chief, so I would entertain a motion to have Dan Fitzgerald serve as our police chief.”

Alderman Anthony Harper made the motion and Wynn seconded it. But of the remaining six aldermen, only Cindy Manestar voted yes. Voting no were Saunders, Robertson, Tom Kramer, Patrick Toohey and Andy Leahy.

Said Kramer to Kelly, “Your honor, I think he’s a fine gentleman but I think it warrants more discussion so my vote is no.”

Said Toohey, “I agree with alderman Kramer; it warrants more discussion.”

“Even if the decision comes that we don’t want to go through the process [of interviewing candidates], it’s just a big decision,” said Saunders. “Maybe our group decision will be that we don’t want to go through that entire process.”

About his “yes” vote, Harper later said, “My recollection is that when we hired the fire chief there wasn’t a process. It was an appointment. And I don’t see why this was any different.”

Wynn said he voted “yes” because of Fitzgerald’s people skills and the depth of his public safety reports, and because Wynn wants the city to hire from within if possible.

Kelly indicated that if his recommendation of Fitzgerald had been approved, he would have followed up with a recommendation for assistant police chief. He did not disclose who that person would be.

No date was discussed for when the board would again vote on Kelly’s recommendation. However, a press release posted on the city’s website on Feb. 4 said the city hoped to have the new police chief selected within 120 days.

Lewis Joins Planning and Zoning

The board of aldermen approved Kelly’s appointment of Clint Lewis to the Planning and Zoning Commission. Lewis takes the seat formerly held by Leroy Russo in Ward 3. There remains one vacant seat on the commission.

New Police Officer Takes Oath

Brentwood has a new police officer. Patrolman Nick Seiverling, who started work here two weeks ago, took an oath of office during the board of aldermen meeting last night. Fitzgerald said Sieverling worked six years for the Union Police Department in Franklin County, Mo.

Mayor Pat Kelly administers the oath of office to recently hired Brentwood patrolman Nick Seiverling. (All photos by Steve Bowman)

2 thoughts on “Board Wants Time to Discuss Police Post

  1. Here we go again. We already have the number one candidate in Major Dan Fitzgerald. Now is the city going to go outside of Brentwood looking for someone else too hire as Chief of Police for Brentwood. We had the same situation when Brentwood was going to go outside looking for a Fire Chief.The outcry from the Brentwood citizens is what made Robert Niemeyer the Chief, not the board of aldermen who have a hard time seeing their hand before their face. If Major Fitzgerald is not promoted to Chief immediately you folk need help from a psychiatrist. You are suppose to promote from within. What is so difficult to understand about promoting from within. Stop wasting more time and my money looking elsewhere, look no further, unless you are looking for a puppet.

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  2. I would vote yes to D. Fitzgerald…this is a no brainer and the board should spend time on issues that require careful thought not this .

    Good luck to Dan and I hope he is selected in the end.

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