DERRY | There are no morale problems at the Derry Police Department, according to a study conducted by the former interim town administrator.

John Moody's report said he investigated the charges of low morale and they are "unfounded, unsubstantiated, unwarranted, and not reflective of the overall operation of the Derry Police Department."

"I do believe, and stand by it, there is no low morale there," Moody said Friday, when asked about the report. "You can choose to have low morale."

The report was given to town councilors last week and obtained by the Derry News Friday under a right-to-know request.

In April, several councilors requested that Moody look into allegations of low morale in the department and its connection to the retirement of three veteran police officers in May.

The concerns about morale were initially raised by Michael Houle, the president of the Derry Police Patrolman's Association.

The one-page report said that Moody looked into instances of low morale, and concluded that if the officers had followed the proper procedures for voicing complaints, "the issues should have been resolved amicably."

"That some members of the police department decided to go outside of the established process and procedures to express their concerns is more indicative of a misguided attempt to gain favor with members of press and/or to influence members of the Town Council, than it is an indicator of low morale within the department itself," Moody wrote.

The report links morale issues to dissatisfaction over ongoing union contract negotiations between the town and the Derry Police Patrolman's Association.

In March, the Derry Police Patrolman's Association declared negotiations at an impasse after the town refused to accept a proposal for a detail ordinance. They have since gone back to the bargaining table, without requesting the detail ordinance.

When asked about his report Friday, Moody said he arrived at his conclusions by speaking with Houle, police Capts. George Feole and Vernon Thomas, and Chief Edward Garone. He said he also spoke with the three retired officers | Steven Inserra, Vincent Bryon and Daniel Pelletier.

Moody said that while everyone has different ways of doing things, he didn't believe the morale problem extended to a majority of members of the police department. He pointed to the fact that 17 officers applied for two open lieutenants positions and three open sergeants' positions when they became open in May.

But Houle, when asked about the report, said Moody never interviewed him or any of the other patrolmen for the report.

Town Councilor Kevin Coyle, who requested the report, said he still has questions about it and plans to call for a professional management study of the Police Department by an outside firm.

"If it is in fact true that they did not speak to the patrolmen that are claiming that there's a problem, the report has no validity to me," he said.

Councilor Janet Fairbanks has requested that the council meet with Moody in a nonpublic session to talk about the methods he used to come to his conclusions.

Town councilors are already scheduled to discuss the report at a closed-door session next month, Chairman Craig Bulkley said last week.

To view the full copy of John Moody's report on Police Department morale, go to the Derry News' Web site | www.derrynews.com.



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