Provincetown Association of Concerned Citizens

Connecting the Dots

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                                        Connecting The Dots:

                  Linking The Three Investigations & The Texting Incident

                                           

     How to make sense of the three incidents by Police Chief Jaran involving the Squealing Pig, the Austin Knight campaign signs distributed from the Police Station and the Re-Activation of the No Place for Hate Committee? And also, how to link the threatening behavior of Sergeant Koumanelis to two town residents for placing Tom Donegan and Raphael Richter campaign signs at their residence? Where is the pattern? What motives can be revealed to help explain the questionable actions? Why did all four incidents happen? Why was Jeff Jaran so intent on taking questionable actions when he did?

     I propose that the answer lies in Provincetown's Charter. It states:

 Chapter 7 THE TOWN MANAGER and Section 2: POWERS AND DUTIES

 7-2-5  The town manager shall hire the following town employees with the approval of the board of selectmen: (a) accountant; (b) assessor; (c) assistant town manager; (d)clerk; (e) licensing agent; (f) police chief; (g) tax collector; (h) town counsel; and (i) treasurer.

Chapter 8 PUBLIC SAFETY   Section 2: THE POLICE DEPARTMENT

8-2-1 The town manager shall make all appointments within the police department

8-2-2 The town manager shall appoint the chief of police with the approval of the board of selectmen.

Chapter 10 TERMINATION OF SERVICE   Section 3:THE TOWN MANAGER

10-3-2 After the town manager has been in office longer than six months, the board of selectmen may initiate his or her removal by adopting a resolution to that effect and delivering a copy to the town manager in person or by registered mail to his or her place of residence.

10-3-5 Within five days following the adoption of such resolution, the town manager may file with the board of selectmen, the board of personnel board and the town clerk a written request for a public hearing before the personnel board.

10-3-9 Within seven days after the public hearing is adjourned the personnel board shall vote at a public hearing whether to reinstate or to remove the town manager. The town manager shall be removed unless at least two-thirds of the personnel board vote to reinstate.

     Why are these sections of the Provincetown Charter key? Because they reveal that a three to two vote by the Board of Selectmen can lead to the firing or dismissal of the town manager.  With three selectmen holding similar views on the lack of leadership or sense of mismanagement by the town manager, the present town manager can quite easily-or at least more easily than most think-be removed. And when such a town manager is removed, the powers to appoint to key town positions, including the right to hire and fire the Chief of Police, is shifted temporarily to the Assistant Town Manager and then to a newly hired Town Manager. With the loss of the present town manager, many town employees, including the Chief of Police, as well as others like Dan Hoort, the Director of Municipal Finance, would find themselves in a vulnerable position, if not losing their present positions.

       Thus changes in the make-up of the Board of Selectmen are not taken lightly. When there is strong support for the Town Manager by the Board of Selectmen-as was the case before May 2012-the Town Manager and the Chief of Police could usually count on 4 out of the 5 selectmen to support their positions and policies. But all this changed with the May 2012 election. At this time, one opening was available as David Bedard ran to be re-elected as selectman.

       Selectman David Bedard was the fourth vote, the guarantee of a block vote that would defend the present Town Manager and thus the Chief of Police. For that reason many in town government highly backed Bedard, including the Chief of Police's girlfriend holding a sign for David Bedard the night of the election, as well as the former Chair of the Finance Committee Tom Coen, and Candace Nagle, who would later join the No Place for Hate Committee. Nagle would later be crucial in falsely attesting and promulgating the Anti-Defamation League's official judgment that Clarence Walker's political blog MYPACC was defined as a Hate blog. All three stood together outside town hall holding David Bedard campaign signs as town people went in to vote.

     When Erick Yingling, a younger candidate, won the May 2012 election and David Bedard loss, I attest that this was the beginning of the apparently desperate actions of the Police Chief to make certain that the now 3 to 2 vote -replacing the former 4 to 1 vote- by the Board of Selectmen favoring the town manager would never become a 3 to 2 vote against the town manager. This would jeopardize the Chief of Police's position and plans, including Jaran's initial $14 million new Police Station.

      May 2012 became a significant date for the changes, actions, and questionable behavior that would follow. Not only did Eric Yingling get elected as selectman, but Mary-Jo Avellar was elected as Town Moderator. And with her new position as Town Moderator, Avellar held the power to appoint members to the Finance committee and the Personnel board, and soon appointed Clarence Walker and Duane Steele to the Finance Committee, and then Katherine Russo and later Stan Sirkowski.  With Tom Donegan as the new Chair of a newly formed Finance Committee-since  most of the former members resigned en mass after the May 2012 election-the new and soon to be most powerful Finance Committee was formed. Unlike the former committee, this new FinCom immediately seized its power and, at its first meeting on June 20, 2012, and with Chief of Police Jeff Jaran and Lt. Golden present, FinCom began dealing immediately with structural problems at the Police Station. FinCom recommended repairing the HVAC system, mold remediation and the fire suppression in the jail cells with an appropriation of $49,125.

      It is not an accident that at their second FinCom meeting on June 28, 2012, Dan Hoort, Director of Municipal Finance, and Austin Knight, Chair of the BOS, attended the FinCom meeting finger wagging and admonishing the members and attempting to limit their inquiries, actions, and request for financial information.

     Dan Hoort read a letter to FinCom stating: "I'm concerned about the agenda being put forward for future meetings. The direction seems to far exceed the role of the Finance Committee."  Hoort then attempted to limit FinCom in four areas: 1.Risk mitigation and HVAC at the Police Station; 2. Meeting with Personnel Committee; 3. Joint Meeting with the Board of Selectmen and/or Building Committee; and 4. Pier Committee Meetings. Both Austin Knight and Dan Hoort attempted to limit the actions and meetings between FinCom and all four town committees and their key issues.  FinCom, with Tom Donegan as Chair and all the members, adamantly refused to accept Dan Hoort's delimination of their power and so informed him and also BOS Chair Austin Knight.

     It should be noted that at this time, June 28, 2012, the Building Committee was formed and first met. Its goal was to work on the design, budget and Route 6 location of the proposed new Police Station desired by the Chief of Police even as it was seriously questioned by many town residents who opposed its size, location and budget of $14 million, as well as questioned by FinCom. Herein formed a crucial battle between FinCom and the Building Committee and also, and importantly, between FinCom and the Chief of Police who wanted his mega-design, mega-budget and Route 6 location for his proposed Police Station.

     From June 2012, there is a sense in town government that this Finance Committee is asking too many questions, taking controversial sides, and being aggressive in its questions, in its demands for financial documents and in the power it is asserting. There is a sense that FinCom will not simply accept what the Building Committee agrees to, nor will this FinCom automatically accept the recommendations of the Board of Selectmen. In short, this Fincom came to pose a threat to the Chief of Police in his determination to construct a $14 million new Police Station.

     So, unbeknown to Fin Chair Tom Donegan and Finance Committee member and MYPACC blog Webmaster Clarence Walker, Police Chief Jeff Jaran in August 2012 approaches Sergeant Carrie Lopes and asks her to re-constitute the No Place For Hate Committee.  As Sgt. Lopes revealed to me and to Clarence Walker in October 2013, Police Jeff Jaran told her his goal was to target Tom Donegan and Clarence Walker. It should be noted that as Webmaster of the MYPACC blog, Clarence Walker published many postings critical of the new police station and critical of town government. The blog allowed the dissent and dissatisfaction of town residents and voters to become public and the collective frustrations shared. With MYPACC, town government could not convincingly assert that town residents were in favor of the Chief of Police's design, budget and location at Route 6 for the new Police Station. Just the opposite occurred with posting after postings against all three features of the proposed Police Station: against its size, against its budget of $14 million, and against its location across the highway on Route 6.  

     In short, Fin Com and the MYPACC blog threatened the Chief of Police's desire and determination to have the type of massive Police Station Jeff Jaran wanted, and the budget he demanded, and the location he insisted on.

     In 2013, the Building Committee continues to meet weekly and they, as a body, adopt all the Police Station wishes of the Police Chief in size, budget and location. Paul Kelly, a resident of Provincetown and an architect, attends their meetings and opposes the project as presented.  In January 31, 2013, then on February 4, then again on February 13 and February 14, and on February 19, Paul Kelly attends the Building Committee meeting-with Jeff Jaran attending-and speaks out against the size and cost. He is a concerned citizen and vocal as an architect who sees the project as too monumental for this town. On February 24, 2013, Paul Kelly is arrested by Detective Richard Alves for Operating Under the Influence, Operating Negligently to Endanger and Failure to Stop. I believe the arrest of Paul Kelly is not accidental but directly related to his strong and vocal position against the proposed Police Station. In sum, Paul Kelly is being targeted and punished for his position against Police Chief Jeff Jaran.

      By March 2013, there is much talk in town about the sense that Provincetown is becoming and is feeling like a Police State. People are starting to feel quite intimidated.  Many police cruisers are out on many town streets, some spending much more time watching and following residents.  There is an atmosphere in town that is threatening and many residents feeling uncomfortable and believe they are aggressively being followed by the police.

     In late February and through March 2013, Finance Committee member Mike Cannizales believes he is being followed by the Provincetown police. He is stopped in March for a dated inspection sticker and he is additionally stopped three more times in four days. In March, FinCom Chair Tom Donegan believes he is being followed by the Provincetown police and keeps notes for a number of weeks on the days and dates he is being followed.  In March 2013, the Finance Committee affirmed Warrant Article 30 which proposed keeping the police station on Shankpainter Road and limiting the budget to $3 million. This article threatened the Police Chief's mega Police Station and FinCom member Clarence Walker was to speak for Article 30 at the April 1st, 2013 Town meeting. On April 2, 2013, after the second night of Town Meeting, Clarence Walker is stopped after midnight for an inspection sticker. The sticker expired in July 2013, but the officer told him this is a new car and you should have had the car inspected. The inspection sticker is difficult to see after midnight with a police officer trailing Walker's car from behind.

            April 2013 is quite important in that Tom Donegan, the FinCom Chair, decides to run for Selectman and so does Rafael Richter. The May 2013 election for two selectmen seats now becomes another key issue and threat to top town employees and the Chief of Police. Now it is possible for these two new individuals, if both are elected, to change the votes of the BOS to three against the town manager and only two for. This election can alter and change town politics and undermine the Chief of Police's desires to expand the police, hire more police on the town pier, and get his large-scale police station. With a three to two vote against town leadership, the present Town Manager could be removed. The potential threat creates excessive and aggressive behavior by the police and the Police Chief and they are determined to aggressively, if not even illegally, support Selectman Austin Knight and keep the three to two vote in favor of the town manager and thus in favor of the Police Chief Jeff Jaran and his policies.

     When two town residents place campaign signs for Tom Donegan and Raphael Richter at their home, Sergeant Koumanelis, on April 11, 2013, texts them and demands that these signs be taken down. They refuse and Sergeant Koumanelis texts Police officer Chris Landry and demands he threaten them. Sergeant Koumanelis then texts Jeff Jaran and Kim Hurd, his girlfriend, and Kim Hurd texts back: "You are dead to him."  The threats continue and, as they become intimidated and frightened by a police sergeant who had been a friend, they file a complaint to the Town Manager on April 15, 2013 and the internal Koumanelis investigation and report results. Sergeant Koumanelis is found guilty of threatening them and violating the election laws. Sergeant Koumanelis receives a reprimand and is given a five-day suspension.

     From the day that campaign signs are available for Tom Donegan and Raphael Richter, Clarence Walker and Marcene Marcoux had six signs stretched along their house on Bradford Street. It was clear who they supported and they were public in their support for Donegan and Richter. On April 13, 2013, at 9:00 p.m., Clarence Walker is stopped by Sergeant Koumanelis and is arrested by him. Koumanelis calls in police officers Chris Landry and Henrick. Marcene Marcoux is with Clarence Walker and Marcoux is also arrested. They are handcuffed and brought to the Police Station. They are initially told they can leave in a few hours when they post bail. Clarence Walker and Marcene Marcoux are not released until Sunday, April 14 at 8 a.m. They are kept in jail for ten hours.

     Before the May 2013 election, the police are told they must back Austin Knight. The signs in the police station are to be distributed. Police Chief Jaran is determined to get Austin Knight elected and keep the three to two vote by the BOS in his favor. It is a drive at all cost.

     At the May 2013 election, Tom Donegan does get elected but so does Austin Knight. Police Chief Jeff Jaran goes to the Lobster Pot that night-the place of the Austin Knight celebration. Others are at the Squealing Pig-the place for the Tom Donegan celebration and Raphael Richter consolation party. The people at the Squealing Pig that night were supporters of Tom Donegan and Raphael Richter. For the Police Chief Jeff Jaran and his girlfriend Kim Hurd to go into the Squealing Pig, after he had been celebrating at the Lobster Pot, was itself a questionable act. The place was only filled with supporters of Donegan and Richter and patrons mostly against Austin Knight.  Police Chief Jeff Jaran's presence at the Squealing Pig was an "in your face" act and a defiant one.  His behavior has been documented elsewhere and reveals an arrogance and a threatening behavior to those who worked at the Pig. That the bartender waited to come forward on his story is tied to the threatening atmosphere in town and the collective unease and fear many town residents felt of the police using their power against them. The Chief's behavior that night simply reconfirmed the feelings of intimidation, bullying, and an aggressive police force many in town experienced and feared.

     In sum, all three key events central to the internal investigation of Police Chief Jeff Jaran, including the Koumanelis Texting incident, are linked to the attempt to maintain his position as Police Chief and guarantee that his grandiose design with its $14 million budget and location across Route 6 for the new Police Station would occur. Those who stood in his way, those who opposed him in any aspect of his proposed mega new Police Station would pay a price. He would take no prisoners. Jeff Jaran would and did use his power, and often used his own police officers, against those he believed were against his desired new and expensive Police Station. Jeff Jaran was often ruthless, and at times even lawless, in achieving his personal and professional goals. Many suffered as a result.    

 

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