Police bolster ranks with supervisory slots

By Tom Gresham
Observer staff

The Selectboard approved on Monday the addition of two supervisory positions in the Williston Police Department in an effort to improve officer retention.

The force will add two patrol sergeant positions under the plan. One sergeant will cover the 4 p.m. to midnight shift, while the other will cover the midnight to 8 a.m. shift. The sergeants will rotate shifts every three months.

Currently, the force only has two supervisors, Chief Ozzie Glidden and Detective Sergeant Bart Chamberlain. Both typically cover the 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. shift on weekdays.

Town Manager Rick McGuire said the proposal, which was approved by the Williston Police Officers Association, a chapter of Teamsters Local 597, will give officers an increased opportunity for advancement. The lack of promotion possibilities has been frequently cited as one reason for the high turnover rate of officers in the Williston Police Department, which has had chronic problems keeping its full allotment of officers.

“This will provide an extra incentive for officers to stay,” McGuire said.

The new sergeant spots will replace two officer positions. McGuire said it will cost the town approximately $6,000 to add the senior positions.

Brennan Woods complaint

Fred Reiner of the Brennan Woods subdivision took the Selectboard to task on Monday for what he says is the town’s failure to crack down on speeders on Brennan Woods Road.

Reiner said he has previously spoken to the town about the issue, but has not seen any results. He said the speed of traffic combined with the preponderance of children in the development meant that a resulting tragedy was “not a question of if but when.”

Selectboard Chairwoman Ginny Lyons said the board would get input from Police Chief Ozzie Glidden about the police department’s monitoring of traffic in the neighborhood.

When Reiner declined to return to the audience until he heard what the board’s “action items” would be on the issue, Lyons said the board could not consider the question in detail because it was not on the agenda. She said the Selectboard would not know what the specific issues on the road were until municipal staff had done some research.

The town does not own the road, but Reiner said that should not be a factor. “I’m paying taxes, but I’m not receiving services for them,” he said.

Board appointments

The Selectboard appointed Brent Raymond to the Development Review Board and Randy Stevens to the Conservation Commission.

Raymond, who works in the corporate trust department at BankNorth, previously served as a trustee for public funds for the town. Stevens is a stone artist and developer.

The board also renewed the terms of a host of incumbents, including Gary Hawley, Richard Pritsky and Jean Kissner (Conservation Commission); Joy Peterson and Jane Petrillo (Design Advisory Committee); Kevin McDermott (Development Review Board); Steve Bradish (Planning Commission); and Caroline Ford (Recreation Committee).

Among the remaining openings are one spot on the Conservation Commission, one spot on the Design Advisory Committee, one spot on the Planning Commission and four spots on the Recreation Committee.

Michael Healey and Tianna Tomasi have applied for positions on the Recreation Committee.