The Seymour Board of Police Commissioners voted 2-1 Sept. 13 to allow Detective Sgt. Ronald Goodmaster to stay on the force past his 65th birthday.
Goodmaster will reach the retirement age of 65 on March 8, 2013.
The commission voted to extend his employment with the town until March 8, 2014.
The move puts Goodmaster in line to hit 25 years of service under the state’s municipal employee retirement system.
Two of the five members of the Seymour Board of Police Commissioners could not attend the Sept. 13 meeting. Goodmaster’s bosses — Chief Michael Metzler and Lt. Paul Satkowski — also could not attend the meeting.
The specific request was not listed on the agenda posted prior to the meeting. Goodmaster attended the meeting and requested that the issue be added to the agenda and that the commissioners take action on it.
Frank Loda, a private citizen, voluntarily recorded the meeting to post on the web and to broadcast on local cable. The Goodmaster discussion starts 40 minutes into the video posted below.
Police commissioner Frank Conroy voted against Goodmaster’s request. He repeatedly said his vote wasn’t a reflection on Goodmaster. Conroy was concerned because the full board was not in attendance to weigh in on Goodmaster’s request.
Conroy further said the commissioners had plenty of time to consider Goodmaster’s request, since he wasn’t turning 65 for another six months.
“I’m not against or for it,” Conroy said. “I’m not saying that. All I’m saying is that we have two members who aren’t here. It is a situation that doesn’t have to be considered tonight.”
Commissioners James Simpson and John Popik voted in favor of extending the detective sergeant’s employment for another year.
Simpson said the police chief constantly says the department is short-staffed both in patrol and the administrative ranks. Keeping Goodmaster on the job bolsters the ranks.
“He (Chief Metzler) pounds the table every month, ‘We need bodies, we need bodies,’” Simpson said.
In addition, Simpson worried about a potential lawsuit.
“I just don’t want the town subject to a lawsuit, I’ll be honest with you, should this possibly be refused at some point,” Simpson said. “In my heart, the right thing to do is to extend it. It doesn’t cost the town any money,” Simpson continued.
Conroy again said the full board should be brought in to make the decision.
“Everything you’re saying should be brought before the two other elected officials on the board,” Conroy said to Simpson.
Potential lawsuits should have no place in the board’s decision, Conroy said.
Popik said Goodmaster’s two decades of law enforcement experience in Seymour is “tough to replace.”
“We would be doing a disservice to the town by not acting on it (and) granting it,” Popik said.
Board chairwoman Lucy McConogue did not attend the meeting and was unavailable to comment Friday and Monday.
Goodmaster had been subject to disciplinary action in recent years — and had even been demoted — but he fought back through a series of grievances and complaints. One complaint alleged age discrimination.
He and his lawyer negotiated an agreement with the town that saw him reinstated as Detective Sergeant. Two suspensions against him were also reversed.