Controversy brews over decision not to renew Somerset police chief’s contract

SE Mass

SOMERSET, Mass. (WPRI) — The Somerset Board of Selectmen is meeting in executive session Thursday to discuss finding an interim police chief after it decided not to renew Police Chief George McNeil’s contract.

McNeil has served as Somerset’s police chief since 2014. His contract as chief was set to expire in August, but was not immediately clear why the board decided to not renew it.

In the public comment portion of the meeting, some residents spoke in support of the board’s decision.

Other Somerset residents have recently created a petition, which calls for the board to extend the chief’s contract immediately and reconsider its decision, which they call “political.”

The chief’s own daughter, Nichole McNeil, also joined the meeting to call the decision “favoritism.”

“He cares about that town, he cares about what’s right from wrong,” she said. “My father has done his best. He’s done everything he’s ever can and ever will for that town, and I’ve seen his heart and soul go into it.”

Other Somerset residents supported the board’s decision and said it was time for the town to move on.

“All across the country police officers, corrections officers, police chiefs are getting fired and resigning all due to Black Lives Matter, Antifa, the civil moment and Somerset is no different. I think it’s time to move Somerset forward,” resident Christopher Murphy said.

The agenda for Wednesday night’s public meeting did mention appointing an interim chief, but that appointment was held off.

Board members said they didn’t want to name anyone prior to Thursday’s executive session.

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