BERLIN - Lt. James Gosselin of the Berlin Police Department has withdrawn his application for the police chief position and endorsed Lt. Christopher Ciuci for the job.
“Retirement is in sight for me,” said Gosselin, who has been with the department full time for 28 years, and seven years part time prior to that. “It would be a disservice to my town if I were to continue going for the position.”
Gosselin was one of three candidates for the position, which Police Chief Paul Fitzgerald said he will be retiring from Oct. 27. Deputy Chief John Klett, who has been with the department for 29 years; and Ciuci, who has been with the department for 23 years, are the other two candidates still vying for the job. They were interviewed throughout August.
“We need somebody who’s an innovator,” said Gosselin, while advocating for Ciuci and praising the initiatives and programs he’s brought to the department from the FBI Academy, an exercise program he implemented with the department, and his background with an advanced degree. “I’ll work with whoever is the chief,” he said, adding that he won’t be interested in the deputy chief position if that becomes available, too.
“We’ll be making a decision in a couple of weeks,” said Police Commission Chairman Robert Peters. The commission’s next meeting is Sept. 20. By that time, Peters said, the commission will decide between the two candidates or reopen the search and look for candidates outside the department.
Fitzgerald announced in July that he will be retiring in late October, which was due in part to his frustration over the town’s inability get a new police station and his desire to spend more time with his children and grandchildren in the Boston area.
The town purchased property on Farmington Avenue and had begun work on a new station when the Town Council decided to send the $21 million cost to referendum in 2014. Residents voted against the project, but police officials worked for another year to scale down the building and bring the cost to $13.5 million. The council then declined to bring the second proposal back to voters, effectively killing the plan.
Shortly after Fitzgerald’s announcement, the Police Commission decided to keep the search for a new chief in house to start, only allowing the three highest-ranking members of the department, Klett, Gosselin and Ciuci, to vie for the job.
Each had until Aug. 3 to submit a letter of intent saying he was interested in the job, which all did.
Staff Writer Lisa Backus contributed to this story.
Charles Paullin can be reached at 860-801-5074 or firstname.lastname@example.org.