Police commission cancels Gallo’s last-minute KPD promotions

Kingston Polce Chief Egidio Tinti.

Kingston Polce Chief Egidio Tinti.

One of Mayor Steve Noble’s first acts as the city’s chief executive was to undo his predecessor Shayne Gallo’s final personnel decisions — an 11th-hour blitz of promotions in the police department against the wishes of a majority of the police commission.

On Saturday, Jan. 2, his second day in office, Noble convened the four-member commission for a special session. The commission then voted to rescind four promotions made by Gallo at a November meeting.

According to Noble and Kingston Police Chief Egidio Tinti, the promotions — two to lieutenant and two to sergeant — were made back in November at a regular meeting of the commission. The appointments were made after the eligible officers were called before the commission for interviews. At that point, Tinti and Noble said, the commissioners voted to hold off on appointing anyone until January when Noble would become mayor and, per the city charter, president of the police commission.


“The mayor felt the appointments had to be made that day, the board felt differently,” said Tinti, who was at the meeting. “The mayor went ahead and did it anyway.”

Noble said he convened the commission for the vote to rescind the promotions at the request of the commissioners, who, he said, felt that Gallo’s action had violated established protocol. The city charter gives the commission “authority to set departmental practices in recruiting, hiring, promoting and disciplining.” It does not explicitly state that they have a yes or no vote on promotions. But Tinti said that for as long as he has been in the department, promotions have always gone up for a vote by the police commissioners. Noble said he had reviewed minutes of the meeting and it appeared that Gallo had claimed that he had sole authority over promotions — contrary to past practice.

“The mayor said that he was the appointing authority, but my understanding is that the commission itself holds that authority,” said Noble. “The commissioners felt and continue to feel that [Gallo’s] was not the procedure to be used.”

Noble said he was waiting for a written opinion from legal advisors on the commission’s role before moving ahead with any promotions. Tinti, meanwhile, said that he wanted time to review the department’s staffing needs before making any decisions.

There are 7 comments

  1. gerald berke

    Interesting. I think Tinti was promoted by Settle in the 11th hour. Certainly had me worried, but turned out to be quite excellent.
    There does not seem to be a question of law, but of “practice”… that is suspect.
    This is power politics, all well and good, but in the process, we seem happy to skip the realities: were these promotions good?
    Mr Gallo took strong actions against favoritism… that certainly was part of the unhappiness that dogged him in his term.
    In the spirit of open and transparent government, that actual pros and cons of the promotions needs to be public. Alternatively, the new promotions ought to be made public, and the reasons. To the extent that these promotions were, and will be, merit based, the reasoning ought to be public.
    Indeed, one of the strongest an most valuable processes Mr Noble brings to Kingston government is communication… this is an excellent opportunity and ought not to be missed.

  2. Old time Kingston

    One has to wonder what else Mayor Gallo did before he left. Has anyone checked if the toilet paper is still in the bathrooms? I heard he took everything else, even stuff that was not his.

  3. rainier parade

    Gallo really went on a scorched earth campaign on his way out the door, didn’t he? And the minutes of the police commission meeting are quite revealing, giving us yet another example of Gallo’s heavy-handed, autocratic style of governance. Talk about wearing out your welcome. City residents should be very happy we are finally rid of him, though I won’t be at all surprised when/if we find more of these little “departing gifts,” nor when the Gallo flunkies still embedded in city government work quietly behind the scenes to undermine the new administration. Local reporters would do well to keep a close eye on that possibility.

  4. whistler

    So after rubbing some elbows last night, the word around city hall is that Mayor Noble is going to let the police promotions stay as they were and will not rescind them.

    The reasons for this were that Mayor Gallo DID have the right to make them and he also does not want to start off his term with lawsuits and controversy. Gallo started off his term with the Chris Rea mess and had to drag that cross with him for his entire time in office.

    When Noble took office he stated he wanted transparency and wanted to improve moral. Two things that went right out the window when he was pressured and deceived into rescinding the police promotions by the megalomanic chief of police Tinti and the four egotistical police commissioners. Those five “advisors” to the mayor were unhappy because they wanted their favorites to get the jobs, as always, and thought they were very sneaky to wait for the new mayor to take office. It was less than 24 hours from Noble taking office that they held a special meeting to do away with these promotions. That alone sounds very shady and should throw up red flags. Wonder why this wasn’t done or protested prior to January 2nd? Because they weren’t allowed to do it before! They didn’t have the power to do it. The mayor has the power to appoint any non elected postions within Kingston. The board of police commissioners and the chief of police are advisors to the mayor. Read the city charter. It does not say anything about commissioners having any authority to vote or appoint. Its there in black and white. At least Gallo didn’t play the “good ol boys” game when filling positions.

    Chief Tinti has also played this game before as we might recall. A couple years back he was playing games with these positions within the police department. That lead to the police union taking it to court and the city ended up losing $250,000 – $300,000. And that was only for the LT’s side of it, the SGT’s side of it is still on going. This “game” he’s playing might end up costing the City a half a million dollars or more! Really??? All because he wants to play games with these positions? At least Noble is taking these games into account now as he’s making his mind up on this. So what’s happening now? Are the positions not being filled? That will senselessly cost the city even more money, or are they filling them again? If so there’s your transparency right there. It’s easy to see that a few people that think they’re important didn’t get their way, and the voided the appointments so the people they want get appointed in now.

    Nobles not to blame for this. He was called into a meeting with his advisors and probably thought what they were giving him was sound advice. He probably thought they wouldn’t try to pull the wool over his eyes for them to get what they want. At least noble is realizing this now. If he thinks he’s right or just with this decision then he’s just as slimey as the rest of them.

    If the talk coming out of city hall right now is true, then I believe that would be a great thing for the City of Kingston, the residents and the employees. It will restore the credibility that Noble has alreay lost within his first 24 hours in office. He wanted moral up with city employees but stuff like this is the ultimate moral killer for any city employee. He can’t want lawsuits and fights with the city departments stemming from a decision made within his first 24 hours in office. He doesn’t want to be known as a mayor who was tricked into making decisions based on advisors that have their own agendas. The police chief and commissioners don’t care because it’s not their names on this, only Nobles. I am happy that hes taking the time to look into whether or not he’s making the right decisions with this although he should have done that before he made any changes and it became public knowledge. What was the rush for January 2nd? These officers were supposed to start in December but the police chief pushed the start dates back to January so this little power play could be done. Another red flag rasied Mr. Noble. I want to hear the police chiefs and the commissioners reasons for feeling so strongly against these promotions. I want to see if they have a valid reason or what lies might be said from them. Can we get a follow up story with more information and more questions being asked? Mr. Noble restore some faith here because a lot has been lost in less than 24 hours and 4 years is a long time.

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