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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

New Chief David Hendrickson to be introduced at tonight's City Commission meeting.

Captain David Hendrickson
Can't wait till tonight  to get a  read on the new Chief ? Check out his letter to City Commission below. In the old days Public Safety and City Commission often seemed to have an adversarial relationship. Now with just a week on the job as an that relationship seems to be dramatically changing for the better.

Tuesday's introduction will be a month to the day of the decision to explore the possibility of  outsourcing the  City's Dispatch department. Mayor McClure urged commission restraint on the matter.She  stated  that a "hire" could be made in a week and it would be best to have the new Public Safety director on board before the Commission ventured into uncharted waters. City Manager Jay Cravens who urged the forming of an outsourcing exploration committee consisting of himself,and our two newest commissioners Commissioner Stuart Sherr and Michael Dul disagreed.  A 3 to 1 vote with Commissioner Pat Hardy joining  the majority followed. 

It was the first commission vote to go against a sitting City of Bloomfield Hills Mayor in five years. Absent from the discussion and the vote on outsourcing  was Commissioner  Mike Zambricki who inexplicably arrived at the meeting 40 minutes late. A commissioner since 1989 he is the most experienced, and arguably the best when it comes to reason. While circumstances beyond one's control do occur, a phone call could have flipped the K-9 (last agenda item) for dispatch (the first) thus getting the benefit of Commissioner Zambricki's attention and input.

As it was Zambricki was instrumental in putting the K-9 agenda item on hold pending the the hire of a new Chief. He pulled Sherr and Dul over to the "hold" position leaving Hardy as the sole pre-emptive K-9 hire vote. 

One week later as Mayor McClure predicted, City Commission hired Warren Michigan's (population 135,00) third officer as it's new chief.The vote was 4-1 with Commissioner  Sherr dissenting. 
This writer, a non voting resident of the City, favored Terry McDonnell our acting Chief.

Commissioner Sherr during the interview process said that he had problems with the differences in size of the City and the scope of duties of a Police Officer in  Warren as opposed to one in The City of Bloomfield Hills. 

This writer having some familiarity with Warren in a prior job however was impressed by the fact that all four Warren Command Officers including former Captain Hendrickson are graduates of Warren Consolidated schools. That sense of community seems to bode well for our community.

Last Monday Chief Hendricksen began his first day on the job. Much of Tuesday, and Wednesday, were devoted  to fact finding meetings with Birmingham, and  Bloomfield Township. While much was made of the three B's and how well they work together, One gathered that Hendrickson did not come all the way across town to accept a lateral but scaled down second or third officer position on what would be a 64,000 citizen Super B Force if  outsourcing /consolidation were carried to the extreme.

Instead it might be safer to postulate that he came to be the Chief of the City of Bloomfield Hills which despite the City Commission's absurd attempts at "establishing a brand for the City" or insistence on publishing an expensive " City brochure" is rather well known and highly regarded regardless.

At the Outsourcing meetings Chief Hendricksen represented us well, with the Birmingham Chief who recently turned down the position of Chief in Juneau (the capital) Alaska and the new Chief of Bloomfield Township.

In negotiations  the commissioners asked about money and terms with helpful moderation from City Manager Jay Cravens. Hendricksen focused on call volume, population, and the sustainability of service.

The letter below is an example of  clear and concise thinking and research. It is dated June 11th the day of the Commission Meeting. In actuality it was written before last Friday afternoon so that it could be put in the Agenda Packs for the commissioners to study prior to the meeting. One was also posted on the City Web site for the residents to read.

Hendricksen aside from providing practical considerations offers no advocacy, Read it and you will be impressed. All the more so when you consider this is the clear concise advice and analysis that has been lacking from City Commission and Public Safety conversations for years. Read it and you will come to the conclusion that we shouldn't have been mucking around with Dispatch without our number one guy. New hire David Hendrickson is an asset to the City.

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