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Stockbridge police chief contract needs revision

In his letter to the editor, John Hart of Stockbridge writes: "There are many in town who would like to see changes ... to the current style of policing, the cost of this policing and many other issues."

To the Editor:

Webster’s Dictionary defines a ‘Contract’ as “a formal agreement between 2 or more parties.”

Every business transaction that we conduct in our businesses involves a Contract. It spells out my company’s obligations to our clients and our client’s obligation to our businesses. As with all Contracts, there is a “term” that the Contract is in effect for. When a Contract is close to expiring we generally have a discussion with the client. Thankfully, in most cases, the Contract is renewed. That does not mean the terms and conditions remain the same – often times there are changes. These changes usually involve “negotiations.” The negotiations can adjust the length of the term of the Contract. The reviewed contract details can change in many ways before being rewritten and agreed upon. During negotiations we suggest what we see would be best for us. The clients discuss what would be best for them. Usually, the negotiations bring concessions by all parties. Sometimes not and the Contract is terminated.

In Stockbridge we are approaching a time when our elected Selectmen will need to review and negotiate a new Contract with our Police Chief, Robert Eaton. Here’s where “the agreement between 2 or more parties” comes into play. Often in Town Government things go by unnoticed by the “more” part of the definition. The fact is that the “more” in this case are the folks who elected our Select Board. The Select Board is not an untouchable body when it comes to our bidding. They are very much beholden to us, their constituency.

In the case of the Police Chief’s Contract there is a period of review — in this case during the months of December and January. I am hoping that in their wisdom one or more of our three selectmen will “call for the review” of this contract and not just rewrite the old one.

There are many in town who would like to see changes. Changes to the current style of policing, the cost of this policing and many other issues that need not be brought forth here.

So I urge anyone who votes and/or pays taxes in Stockbridge to attend upcoming Selectmen’s meetings. Bring your issues or praises with regard to the style of policing we have witnessed during Chief Eaton’s last Contract and how some new negotiations might ease the tensions simmering in our town.

John H. Hart

Rattlesnake Mtn. Rd.

Stockbridge, Mass.

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