Remember that phrase, dissect it, analyze it, and understand it.
As we said yesterday, that’s the phrase of the week.
Essentially, Police Chief Gary Gemme is insisting that his new policy forbidding one unit details (and requiring anyone who hires one cop to hire two instead) is internal policy. A couple councilors – most publicly, Michael Germain, is claiming that since the order effects businesses, it is something that should be discussed by city council in some form. And Germain and Gemme’s email war has now become very public, putting “internal policies” at the forefront of the city debate. This might even take more time than street vendors.
Why does it matter? Let’s break it down.
1. Limits of Internal Policy: This is a big one. If Gemme’s logic train is followed, what are the limits of “internal policy?” There are a number of duties consolidated under his authority as chief including taxi licensing, bar licensing, event details, gun permitting. If everything that involves cops and staffing is an internal policy, what is an external policy?
2. Is Germain wrong for questioning?: Gemme (and others) have accused Germain of overstepping his bounds in responding directly to the chief; in today’s Telegram, the chief said that Germain had “no right to e-mail him directly or comment on police internal staffing, and that he should have gone through the city manager.” But if it’s not an internal decision, and is in fact deemed something that effects city business, it may have been Gemme who overstepped his bounds by not raising it to the council beforehand. And if it is an “external issue,” it’s perfectly within the rights of Germain, as a councilor, to bring it up on the floor.
There’s a side issue: Councilor Germain has also grumbled that the item should be referred to his Economic Development committee, not just Public Safety.