Describing both as dedicated leaders in their departments, Mayor-elect Daryl Finizio announced today that Police Chief Margaret Ackley and Fire Chief Ron Samul have agreed to stay on in his administration.
At the formal event outside the , Finizio said he had made public safety one of the top priorities in his campaign and spoke to both Ackley and Samul after his election about what their roles would be in the new form of government. He said the chiefs will take an instrumental role in helping the city to prepare for OpSail 2012 and other events.
Both Ackley and Samul rose through the ranks of the New London departments to reach their positions. Samul has been with the fire department since 1970, and became chief in December of 1986.
“I’m very pleased that such a dedicated and experienced servant of the people of the city of New London will be remaining in his current capacity,” said Finizio.
"I look forward to working in the new government," said Samul. "I look forward to continuing the high level of services."
Ackley joined the in 1986 and became chief in June of 2009.
“I made it very clear throughout the campaign that I supported her policies and her leadership and would seek to retain her if elected,” said Finizio.
Ackley said she looked forward to taking a “team approach to the new city government.”
No comment on allegations
The appointment negates a retirement agreement between Ackley and the city, which would have gone into effect on Jan. 2. The agreement included a clause allowing Ackley to rescind it after the election.
In August, Ackley of unethical behavior and said this had led to her decision to retire. Buscetto denied the allegations, saying they were politically motivated. Buscetto, who to Finizio, also lost a write-in bid in the .
On Wednesday, Ackley which said he acted unethically in refusing to recuse himself from discussions regarding her complaints. These included accusations of harassment, a hostile work environment, and gender discrimination.
Finizio declined comment on these issues.
“Since some of those matters have not been resolved, I’ve asked the chief not to comment on them and I will not comment on them either,” he said.
Finizio also said a complaint by the New London Police Union about Ackley’s leadership occurred in the run-up to the election. He said the union has not officially taken a vote of no confidence in Ackley, and that he is confident in her abilities.
Finizio has said administrative heads must reapply for their positions, and has posted a number of these positions on his . He said the city’s current law director, Thomas Londregan, agreed to step down by mutual agreement.
“We were looking for some new energy in that office, some new ideas,” he said.
Finizio said the law director’s role is changing under the new form of government. He or she must be an attorney with five years’ experience, and the mayor’s choice must be confirmed by the City Council. The mayor may dismiss the law director at will, however.
Michael Tranchida and Deputy Clerk Dawn Quinn will also step down, effective Dec. 2. Finizio said both were eligible for retirement.
“It’s just a sense that that office would benefit from some new perspectives,” he said.
Finizio and other newly elected officials will take office on Dec. 5. Besides the chiefs, he has named members of a and appointed as his chief administrative officer. Finizio said no new appointments will be made until after the Thanksgiving holiday.