Council Approves New Contract For Police Chief
By: James Kinsella
The Barnstable Town Council last night voted unanimously to approve a new three-year contract for Barnstable Police Chief Paul B. MacDonald.
Following its decision, the council gave the chief a standing ovation.
In other action last night, the council authorized Barnstable Town Manager Thomas K. Lynch to further negotiate and develop several solar electric projects at municipal locations in town with the Cape and Vineyard Electric Cooperative Inc.
During their discussion of the police chief, council members and Mr. Lynch took the opportunity to praise Chief MacDonald for his performance.
Councilor Ann B. Canedy of Barnstable Village called Chief MacDonald a “gem.”
Mr. Lynch said the work performed by Chief MacDonald, including initiatives such as the Barnstable Street Crimes Unit and community policing, spoke for itself.
Chief MacDonald, he said, was one of the strongest personnel assets of the town.
Town Councilor Jennifer L. Cullum of Hyannis said the chief “is right there to make our community safer all the time.”
Town Councilor Debra S. Dagwan of Hyannis called Chief MacDonald “a very hands-on, effective police chief.”
“My community is very appreciative,” Ms. Dagwan said.
Councilor Michael P. Hersey, who has worked as a criminal defense attorney, said Chief MacDonald had generated renewed respect for the Barnstable police in the community.
The chief said he was honored and privileged to work with the community of the Town of Barnstable.
Under the new contract, Mr. Lynch said, Chief MacDonald will make $150,000 in the first year, up about $11,000 from his current salary.
Mr. Lynch said the salary places Chief MacDonald in the middle pay range of police chiefs in the 15 towns on Cape Cod.
Barnstable is the largest of the Cape towns.
The town manager said the chief had offered and agreed not to accrue any more vacation or sick time during the contract.
At present, the chief has accumulated just over 113 vacation days and also 221 unused sick days.
Wellhead Protection ConcernsIn additional action last night, the council authorized the town manager to move forward on negotiations with the Cape and Vineyard Electric Cooperative for the development of solar electric renewable energy projects.
The proposal calls for the town to lease space for projects at Barnstable Municipal Airport, Barnstable Senior Center, and the rooftops of Barnstable High School and the West Villages Elementary School.
The council decided to hold off until its September 6 meeting on whether to approve a 3.3-megawatt installation on a parcel off Breeds Hill Road in Independence Park.
Lindsey B. Counsell, executive director of Three Bays Preservation Inc., has written a letter raising concern about possible wellhead protection issues at the Breeds Hill Road site.
Assistant town attorney Charles McLaughlin said questions also have arisen about the town’s original intent in purchasing the parcel, and about other possible municipal uses for the site.
Of the remaining projects, the airport solar array would cover about 30 acres in two separate ground-mounted sections and generate more than 6 megawatts.
The senior center array, also mounted on the ground, would generate 140 kilowatts.
The high school and elementary school installations would generate 462 and 62 kilowatts, respectively.
Under the plan, the town would lease the sites to the electric cooperative for 20 years.
The cooperative then would contract with a Massachusetts company known as Broadway Electric to build, own and operate the sites.
Should all the projects including the Breeds Hill Road site go into operation, the town could receive revenue of more than $6 million over the 20-year life of the contract.
The airport enterprise fund could receive $5 million for the life of the contract.Mr. Hersey questioned to what extent the town would have control over how the Barnstable Municipal Airport Commission would spend income derived from the airport installations.
“Millions of dollars are being kicked back to the airport enterprise fund,” Mr. Hersey said. “I have a problem with that.”
But Town Councilor Janet Joakim of Centerville said the town council retains budget oversight and approval of airport spending.
Mr. McLaughlin further said that the Federal Aviation Administration also requires that income generated at the airport must be used at the airport.
At last night’s meeting, the town council also unanimously voted to accept an $8,400 gift to the Barnstable Police Department from the Cape Cod Regional Law Enforcement Council.
The council includes all 15 Cape police departments, the Nantucket Police Department, and the Barnstable County Sheriff’s Department.
The money will pay to lease office space on the second floor of the Hyannis Police Station at 491 Main Street to house a regional team of forensic technology law enforcement officials from the council.
According to Mr. Lynch, the primary mission of the team is to provide digital forensic assistance with investigating, solving, prosecuting and convicting criminals on Cape Cod who violate the law and leave digital evidence behind.