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Chief, council should stop all the secrecy

Published August 12. 2011 4:00AM

The New London City Council, administration and police chief need to come clean about the circumstances that led to an extensive secret meeting Wednesday evening between Chief Margaret Ackley, the council and their respective lawyers.

Taxpayers, who pay for the chief's salary and benefits and are dependent on her department for their safety, have the right to know what is going on. Instead all the public received is this cryptic explanation: "Council will meet in Executive Session with Director of law Thomas J. Londregan to receive a report from Thomas J. Londregan concerning the employment (not the performance or evaluation) of the Chief of Police."

Any discussion about the employment of the chief should be public. Any contracts or other agreements between the city and the chief should be public. Any discussion or explanation of the city's obligations under those deals or contracts should be public.

We applaud councilors Rob Pero and Adam Sprecace for voting against the motion to take the entire discussion behind closed doors. Mr. Sprecace told us later that while some of the discussion moved into matters properly exempted from open discussion under the state Freedom of Information Act, much of it should have remained public. Because the discussion took place in executive session, albeit against his wishes, Mr. Sprecace said he and other council members could not elaborate.

This enigmatic process stinks. With three council members running for mayor, it casts a cloud over an important election. The public wants transparency and clarity and deserves it. Instead they get speculation and rumor. It's not acceptable.

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