Troup’s promise to file complaint against Copley at Fire and Police Commission meeting doesn’t happen
QUINCY — The three-man Fire and Police Commission met Wednesday afternoon in the Caucus Room at City Hall. They discussed training, interviews, hiring, and recruitment of firefighters and police officers during a nearly two-hour session.
However, a promise made Monday by Quincy Mayor Mike Troup to attend the meeting and file a complaint against Police Chief Rob Copley didn’t materialize.
Troup met with the commissioners — Barry Cheyne, Kerry Anders and Steve Meckes — for a special meeting Monday morning. They discussed a proposed ordinance calling for the creation of a five-person committee, including the mayor, to select any future police or fire chiefs, rather than the three-person commission. Aldermen tabled the ordinance indefinitely at Monday night’s City Council meeting.
During the meeting, Troup also complained to the commissioners about Copley’s performance. After Troup spoke about the number of uniformed officers in desk jobs and the lack of response to calls about crime, Meckes asked, “What drew you to the conclusion that, with these concerns, you couldn’t work with this commission to address them?”
“There’s not a clear line that these chiefs report to the administration,” Troup replied.
“It is clear. It’s very clear. It’s written in the ordinance,” Cheyne said, referring to chapter 40 of the City of Quincy’s municipal code.
Copley: ‘We’ve done what we normally do’
“How come the chief’s not responding to my request?” Troup said. “Why do I have to go through three commissioners if, in fact, the chief reports to me? Why is he not following through with my request?”
Meckes said he couldn’t answer for Copley.
“I will then come to (the Fire and Police Commission) meeting Wednesday and file a complaint,” Troup said.
“Should there become a situation where the chief isn’t performing, I would think there would be a discussion amongst this group and a plan to address it,” Meckes said.
“OK, so let’s note that we’re talking about lack of performance starting (Monday),” Troup replied.
Asked by text if he still planned to file a complaint about Copley, Troup replied, “My schedule did not allow me to go to this meeting.”
Copley said Wednesday he has not talked with Troup about the complaints aired during Monday’s meeting.
“We’ve conversed through email for some business stuff, but nothing about that,” Copley said. “We’ve done what we normally do. We have had no discussions about that.”
Cheyne: Troup has had ‘no formal communications with any of us’
Copley met briefly with the commissioners in executive session Wednesday.
“That was all driven by me talking about personnel issues that exist, new hires and stuff,” he said. “Nothing brought up from their side on any complaints.”
Copley has been with the Quincy Police Department for 41 years and has been the chief for 17 years. He said Wednesday he plans to retire in 2022, with May being the earliest month that would happen.
Cheyne said Troup has had “no formal communications with any of us, or informal with me,” since Monday.
Chapter 40 of the City of Quincy’s municipal code has a section about “removal or discharge” of any officers or members of the police and fire departments who have successfully served a one-year probationary period. It reads:
“Officers of members of the fire and police departments … shall not be subject to removal or discharge except for cause, upon written charges, filed with the Board of Fire and Police Commissioners, and after an opportunity to be heard in their own defense. When such charges are filed, or a disciplinary action imposed by the police chief or fire chief is appealed to the Board of Fire and Police Commissioners, the board shall conduct a fair and impartial hearing of the charges, to be commenced within 30 days of the filing thereof.”
Commission wants to discuss with mayor any potential changes to ordinance
Cheyne, Meckes and Anders have been commissioners since 2014. Cheyne said the commission has formally disciplined officers twice during their tenure. Three other officers chose to resign in lieu of coming before the commission.
Meckes said during Wednesday’s meeting he would like for the commission to meet again with Troup to talk about changes the mayor would like to make to the ordinance.
“We’re certainly open to the dialogue to look at the language of the ordinance and the language of the rules and regulations,” Cheyne said after the meeting. “It’s pretty comfortable when you stand by what we think is right, in terms of the selection process, and how the chief should be handled. Otherwise, everything else is fair game. Let’s talk through it. Let’s have some discussions.”
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