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Selectman Mabardy Irked Over Police Chief's Stance on Officer's Promotion

Sgt. Mark St. Hilaire was the only person to pass the lieutenant's exam but was not offered the vacant position.

Natick Police Chief James Hicks addresses the Board of Selectmen on Dec. 16. Staff photo by Robert Fucci
Natick Police Chief James Hicks addresses the Board of Selectmen on Dec. 16. Staff photo by Robert Fucci

Natick's Board of Selectmen agreed to declare a short list of candidates to fill a lieutenant position after hearing a request from Police Chief James Hicks on Monday night.

According to Hicks, just one of four candidates passed the civil service test from 2011 and he wasn't comfortable choosing from a pool of one, saying the leadership position "should be chosen in a competitive manner."

This was something that did not sit well with Selectman Nick Mabardy, the town's former police chief.

"There was only one officer who passed the test. He took it in good faith that he would be considered for promotion," Mabardy said. "I don't see this as being fair. If he's not suitable, then state it."

Chair Carol Gloff said the Board received about two dozen letters from residents supporting the Sgt. Mark St. Hilaire. But the board's decision to create a short list temporarily blocks his chance at the promotion.

A provisional lieutenant will have to serve until a list with a sufficient number of candidates is created, which will be Sgt. Paul Thompson who was appointed at the end of the discussion. Hicks reported Thompson plans to retire in May or June when a new list would be available.

The written exam for the position was taken in October and further assessment is expected to be held in May. Hicks said because St. Hilaire did not retake the test this year, he is not be eligible for promotion in May or June.

Resident Bruce Whitney the Board's decision will discourage officers from taking future promotional tests.

"I like to be fair," Mabardy said. "Is it (St. Hilaire's) misfortune to be the only person to pass the test? I don't think this is fair."

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