Council Move On Jolley A DisgraceThe latest action, or...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

August 08, 1993

Council Move On Jolley A Disgrace

The latest action, or perhaps I should say, inaction, by the Aberdeen City councilmen with regard to the misconduct of the chief of police, Jack R. Jolley, is deplorable.

The recent 4-1 vote by the council to give the city administrator, Peter Dacey, the responsibility for taking disciplinary action against Chief Jolley is, at best cowardly; at worst downright crooked, yet a clever move on their part.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see through the council's plan -- by unloading their responsibility onto Mr. Dacey, the councilmen not only protected their friend, Chief Jolley, but they also preserved his position as chief of our police department.

The city charter does not provide the city administrator with the authority to permanently relieve Chief Jolley of his duties; only the majority vote of the mayor and the City Council can do this. The councilmen, by relinquishing their authority in this matter, are not forced to take a stand and therefore have to publicly explain their acceptance of misconduct by a city employee.

It has been painfully obvious for some time that three of the city Councilmen have been determined to disagree with Mayor Ruth Elliott in almost every situation, and have, indeed, seized every opportunity to publicly discredit her.

The investigation into the misconduct of the chief of police was instigated by Mayor Elliott after the receipt of an anonymous letter. Early press reports on this issue quoted one councilman as referring to this letter as "a piece of trash."

Councilman Ron Kupferman, referring to the contents of the investigative report prepared by the state prosecutor, Stephen Montanarelli, was quoted as saying "We've got nothing -- make no mistake about it!" Councilman Kupferman is also responsible for two contenders for quote of the year, when he stated the report "exonerates" Chief Jolley, and when he described the chief as "the most honest man I know."

All of these remarks were made when the councilmen felt assured that no aspect of the state prosecutor's report would be released to the public. Now that the report has been released to the public, there have been no further claims of "exoneration" by the City Council.

The contents of the report indicate that Mayor Elliott was completely justified by the steps she took to have the problems in the police department investigated, and that any sensible council official, with the interests of the city at heart, would have done the same.

Freda Adams

Aberdeen

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What the devil is going on in Aberdeen? As a resident of that city, I am dismayed and appalled by the ineptitude of the City Council in dealing with the issue of the irregularities in the police department.

I have read with horror the report produced by the office of the stateprosecutor, who investigated allegations of impropriety within the Aberdeen Police Department, particularly as relating to the apparent inability of the chief of police to account for funds missing from the Police Department Relief Fund, and the diversion of funds from the City Council to the relief fund.

The report identifies the sum of $2,438.69 as being "unaccountable." A bank teller who mislaid this sum of money would immediately find himself in the office of the manager, and probably dismissed. In this case, the chief of police, an office which implies absolute honesty and integrity, is dealt with by the city administrator, another department head who has little authority to deal with the matter. A bit like the bank teller being reprimanded by another bank teller!

The report describes the diversion of an estimated $6,340 from the city to the relief fund. No mention is made in the report of any attempt to reimburse the city for the diverted funds, and as this diversion was intentional with the intent to permanently deprive the city this was an act of theft.

Even if the state prosecutor does not wish to take this matter further, surely it is incumbent upon the City Council to proceed with civil action in order to gain restitution. These funds, after all, are the property of the city.

Debra Stimson

Aberdeen

A 'Non-Political' School Board?

That C. Everett Smith will not serve on the Harford County Board of Education fills me with a profound sense of satisfaction and relief. Last year's blatant censorship of the play "Secrets" certainly convinced me that one religious reactionary in a position to influence school policy is enough. Two would ensure that the county's children leave our school system prepared to face life armed with a shield of ignorance.

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