Egremont chief opts for open disciplinary hearing before board

EGREMONT — Police Chief Erik Josephson will appear before the select board in an open disciplinary hearing at 7 p.m. Jan. 24.

Josephson confirmed he decided the hearing would be open rather than a closed executive session, but declined to comment further and directed inquiries to his attorney, who could not be reached at press time.

The decision came just one day before the scheduled hearing. Select Board member Mary Brazie said town counsel Jeremia Pollard asked for Josephson’s decision twice with no answer in the weeks leading up to the hearing.

The hearing is in response to comments Josephson made to local media in December about inappropriate overreach in the police department by the town administration.

“This is not what I signed on for,” the Record reported Josephson saying on Jan. 3. “I don’t fix tickets. I don’t make cases disappear. I don’t compromise my ethics for anything. I’m not comfortable with how they handled the ‘wire tapping.’ The political overreach was too much.”

At that time, Josephson also announced he would not seek to renew his contract with the police department when it expired June 30.

At the regular select board meeting Jan. 8, the selectmen vehemently denied the insinuation of corruption.

“If someone is going to accuse me of corruption, they damn well better have some evidence,” Select Board Chairman Bruce Turner said at the Jan. 8 meeting.

The board also made public the minutes of the four executive sessions in which Josephson’s wire tapping allegations were addressed.

The minutes showed that Josephson accused Officer Hans Carlson of recording someone without their knowledge, which at the time was illegal in the state of Massachusetts. The board, citing insufficient evidence, took no disciplinary action against Carlson.

Josephson has cited this event as a major factor in his decision to leave the police department.

At the Jan. 8 meeting, Select Board member George McGurn said the board’s dissatisfaction with Josephson’s performance began in the fall, when he failed to meet expectations of the police chief job.

“In early fall, we had eight points that we said we expected to be carried out by the chief — things as simple as meeting with the chief of the Fire Department and its volunteers, and he didn’t do it,” McGurn said. “As a matter of fact, a majority of those eight points he never did.”

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