PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Mayor Linda Tyer has removed the word "acting" from Police Chief Michael Wynn's title.
Wynn had been promoted to administrative captain in 2007, essentially managing the department. In 2009, he was appointed "acting chief of police" and has served in that role since.
Tyer went through the Civil Service process again this year to make a more permanent hire and Wynn topped the list. The mayor said she offered Wynn the job and he accepted.
"My experience with Chief Wynn is that he always has been highly professional in his decision making and he is always seeking ways to be better at his position," Tyer said on Wednesday. "He really does exemplify leadership. He is clearly experienced."
Tyer says Wynn is a strong part of the city's leadership team and the two share a similar view on law enforcement. Tyer particularly likes his strong ties to the community and his ability to be frank about addressing law enforcement issues in the city.
"I feel strongly about the commitments he makes in the community," Tyer said.
Wynn said the appointment comes nearly 10 years to the date that he was appointed in the provisional capacity. He took over as head of the department on Dec. 1, 2007.
"It isn't going to change anything for me. I had the badge and I've been doing the job," Wynn said. "But it is a relief that this process is over and I know it is not going to come up again. This is the third time I've gone through this."
The biggest impact from Wynn's perspective is the stability of the department. Previously, he was just a mayoral decision away from being re-assigned back to a captain's position.
"I knew I was still going to be with the department unless something really bad happened. It gives me comfort that I don't have to be reassigned without warning."
But Wynn's focus isn't so much about his own comfort but the comfort of those serving in the department. The possibility of new leadership being ushered in was always there.
"I'm glad the process is over. I'm excited to be moving forward and I think it will add stability to the department," Wynn said.
Wynn started with the department in 1995 as a patrol officer. In 2001, he was promoted to day-shift supervisor, which he held until 2007, when he was appointed as administrative captain.
He is also an adjunct instructor at Roger Williams University's Justice System Training and Research Institute and is formerly an instructor for the Municipal Police Training Committee, training recruitment classes of municipal officers.
He holds a bachelor of arts in English literature and a bachelor of arts in American studies from Williams College. He graduated the Massachusetts Criminal Justice Training Council Academy in 1996 and later received his master's degree in criminal justice from Anna Maria College in 2001. In 2004, he was a leadership fellow with the Drug Enforcement Administration, assigned to the DEA office of training and leadership development unit.
In the community, he served roles with the Norman Rockwell Museum, Berkshire Community College, Downtown Pittsfield Inc., Boys and Girls Club, the Christian Center, Berkshire United Way, the Freemason Unity Lodge, the Berkshire Taconic Foundation, the Department of Children and Families Berkshire County Area Board, and the West Side Neighborhood Resource Center.
Wynn is the current president of the Berkshire County Law Enforcement Council and sits on the Western Massachusetts Regional Homeland Security Advisory Committee. His resume also features a number of accolades and a lengthy list of training workshops he participated in.
The city had been operating with "acting" chiefs in both Police and Fire departments for a number of years. The move was a way to skirt Civil Service regulations and lasted through multiple city administrations. Wynn had topped the candidate list in 2009 for the position, but former Mayor James Ruberto did not appoint him permanently.
In 2014, after voters approved a new charter, the Charter Review Commission crafted language specifying that steps be taken "immediately" for a permanent hiring. But former Mayor Daniel Bianchi disliked the Civil Service process altogether and sought a way to get out of it. A study committee was formed to look into the issue and ultimately the recommendation was to use assessment centers to better judge a candidate.
During the mayoral campaign, Tyer had said her goal was to stabilize the departments with more permanent appointments. She first attempted to appoint Wynn based on the 2009 score, of which he was at the top, but that was rejected by the Civil Service Commission.
The city held an assessment center on Sept. 27 of this year, during which three in-house candidates participated. Wynn scored the highest, which made the decision for Tyer easy.
"The leadership of that agency needed to be solidified. This is a step to make the chief of police appropriately appointed," Tyer said.
Wynn would like to think that the decision and his top score on the most recent assessment center validates the work he has done and said he'll continue to manage the department in the best way he can.
Wynn does still need to be appointed as a department head by the City Council -- a nuance in the charter language because the mayor has the approval to appoint a chief through Civil Service but to be considered a department head in Pittsfield, the council needs to approve it, Tyer said, based on the advice she was given by City Solicitor Richard Dohoney.
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Markey Speaks at Last-Minute Rally in Park Square
By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff
Markey is running for a second full term and has visited the Berkshires several times during the campaign.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Edward Markey drove straight from Washington, D.C., to Pittsfield on Tuesday at the tail end of his campaign for re-election to the U.S. Senate to condemn the Republican administration and promise better days if Democrats win next week.
"This is the birthplace of freedom, right out here in the Berkshires," he said. "In 1776, they declared independence. ... well, our declaration of independence is on Nov. 3, 2020, from Donald Trump."
He was greeted by more than a dozen supporters as he spoke about the importance of the general election just a week away. The Democrat is seeking a second full term against Republican challenger Kevin O'Connor.
Markey said the Democrats are in a revolution to rid the United States of President Donald Trump by voting for Joe Biden on Nov. 3. By doing this, he said, voters will be protecting health care for hundreds of thousands of Americans with pre-existing conditions, fighting for a livable wage, taking action to save the planet, having a future where where leaders believe in science
The progressive, who is known for proposing the Green New Deal with New York's U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, was supported by Mayor Linda Tyer, state Sen. Adam Hinds, state Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier, and City Councilors Patrick Kavey, and Helen Moon.
Tyer said she was notified on Monday evening that Markey would be driving from Washington to Pittsfield for this last-minute rally.
"What we all know is that this election is a train running down the tracks," Tyer said. "And for all of us that share the values that Senator Markey has exhibited in his time in the Senate, is important for us to come and recommit ourselves to all of those values and to stand with him today and with all Democrats who share these values because this election is probably going to be the most important election for many of us in our lifetimes."
On Monday, Markey was at the Capitol to vote against Amy Coney Barrett's appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court. Barrett was confirmed 52-48 by the Senate along party lines, with the exception of GOP U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, who is in close race for re-election in Maine.
Markey opposed Coney Barrett, saying her appointment puts civil liberties on the chopping block, including marriage freedom, reproductive freedom, and voting rights for already disenfranchised communities. Democrats also believe that she will help gut the Affordable Care Act; the court is expected to hear arguments on its constitutionality on Nov. 10.
Referring to the protection of the Affordable Care Act, Markey got a chuckle from the crowd when he said. "We know that we can have the ACA, we can have the ACB, but we cannot have both, we cannot have the ACA and Amy Coney Barrett at the same time."
"In order to see this future we need to elect Joe Biden and usher in a new wave of diverse progressive leadership," Markey said. "And we need to remove the most racist and incompetent President in American history from the White House."
In a statement on the Senate floor on Monday, Markey said Coney Barrett's philosophy of originalism, which is looking back to what the Founding Fathers meant in 1787, is dangerous for the United States. Originalism is racist, sexist and homophobic, he said, and will lead to the pretense that allows the overriding of Roe v. Wade, the Affordable Care Act, Civil Rights and civil liberties that have progressed over generations.
"Yesterday, Trump and his Republican lapdogs steamrolled Amy Coney Barrett onto the U.S. Supreme Court. In doing so, Republican leadership violated their own rule which was that the Senate would not consider nominations for our Supreme Justice in the last year of a presidential term," Markey said, referring to the Republican-led Senate's refusal to consider President Obama's court choice in 2016. "Hypocrisy is too weak of a word to describe the sham that [Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell and Republicans have made out of this appointment process, any senator so blatantly breaking his or her own word on such a profound appointment is just plain wrong."
He was greeted by more than a dozen supporters as he spoke about the importance of the general election just a week away. The Democrat is seeking a second term against Republican challenger Kevin O'Connor.
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