In My Opinion

Sussex County Online User Forums: Fenwick Island Discussion Forum: In My Opinion
By Wayne Carmean on Saturday, March 01, 2003 - 02:50 pm:

In my opinion:
It is my opinion that the Chief was right when he earlier predicted that the hearing would be a sham. In a hearing like this, it is incumbent upon the charging party to provide a preponderance of evidence to prove its case. My opinion is this did not occur. I also feel that the Chief's protected rights were violated because after filing his FOIA complaint and contacting the COPS Grant monitoring officer concerning the proper use of the grant, the Public Safety Commisioner greatly increased his direct intervention into the affairs of the police department. The lawyer for the Town Council tried to make the Chief look like the culprit, but Mr. Wier, the Chief's attorney, presented very convincing rebuttals that in my opinion were far stronger. The following examples of the testimony are offered to support this point:
During the questioning of Mr. Griffin about the movement of money to compensate for the COPS Grant issue, Mr. Griffin stated he did not understand why he needed to move the money from the realty transfer account to the general fund, but Mr. Henifin told him to do it and he trusted Mr. Henifin. This is a sad commentary about an elected public official who is responsible for the town's financial affairs. Once the money was moved, the Chief claimed that he was told he couldn't hire the additional officers and use the money. It was pointed out during the testimony that the grant called for adding additional officers (#'s 8& 9), but this never occurred. Why didn't the town return all the grant money since the original intent of the grant was never fulfilled? Someone on the Town Council should have listened to the Chief's concern about supplanting and studied the requirements for the grant.

Another example occurred when Mrs. Baunchalk was questioned as a hostile witness by Mr. Weir. Mr. Weir asked Mrs. Baunchalk if she had ever made a statement about the Chief not returning to his job. Mrs. Baunchalk responded," ...not that I can recall." When Mr. Weir challenged her by asking her if she denied the allegation, Mrs. Baunchalk response was "...not that I can recall". Never did I hear her say, "I deny this allegation."
Following Mrs. Baunchalk, Mr. Weir called Sargeant Bruette who testified that indeed Mrs. Baunchalk and Mr. Henifin had met with him to discuss his appointment to the position of Officer in Charge. During this meeting, both Mrs. Baunchalk and Mr. Henifin assured him that the Chief would not be back. Sargeant Bruette had nothing to gain by his testimony because he is no longer employed by Fenwick Island.

Mrs. Baunchalk continued to sit on the Council and judge the Chief. She never recused herself. In fact, her vote was to make sure the Chief would not be coming back.

Some other observations during the hearing that should be noted: Mr. Hoan was observed with his eyes closed and appeared to be nodding off on several occasions. I would hope when another man's job was on the line Mr. Haon could manage to be alert and pay close attention to the testimony.
It was also interesting to note the seating arrangement at the hearing. At most of the Council meetings Mr.Brans has been seated next to Mrs. Carmean. During this hearing, Mr.Brans was seated next to Mr. Fredericks at the far end of Mrs. Carmean's seat. Was this coincidence or by design to keep the two "dissenters" apart? Please note that Mr. Brans also voted to fire the Chief.

I hope the truth will ultimately prevail, but it certainly didn't make a difference in the outcome of this hearing.

By Sussex226 on Saturday, March 01, 2003 - 06:18 pm:

Are you indicating Mr. Carmean that Mr. Brans is NOT a man of integrity because his vote was swayed by that of whom he sat next to?

Are you saying that if he sat next to Mrs. Carmean, your wife, he would have voted like her?

MY God! Yes! you are saying that.

Perhaps then if she, Mrs. Carmean, didn't sleep next to you she would have voted like the other four. Interesting theory... Carmean Democracy??

By Harry Sachs on Monday, March 03, 2003 - 12:54 am:

I have to wonder that if you were NOT sleeping next to Mrs Carmean, your opinion as well would be different....

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