Allentown City Council president Julio Guridy has issued a brief statement supporting the consulting firm hired by Mayor Ed Pawlowski to help the city find a new police chief.
The city is paying $30,000 to Robert Wasserman’s Strategic Policy Partnership to assist in recruiting and hiring a chief to replace Roger MacLean, who is retiring later this year.
"Mr. Wasserman is a top-notch professional," said Guridy in his statement. "His group comes highly recommended. I remain confident that their work will help us find the right person to lead the Allentown Police Department."
At Wednesday night's City Council meeting, council member Jeanette Eichenwald said she has lost confidence in the Wasserman firm and has grave reservations about continuing the hiring process with it.
Eichenwald said she was trying to initiate a conversation on council when she raised the issue. No other council members expressed support for her position, although Guridy told her “your point is well taken” and that she has “legitimate concerns.”
Joseph Carter, who was brought to Allentown by Wasserman as a member of the chief search team, was dismissed by Pawlowski on May 30 because of allegations that Carter had raped a female member of the National Guard decades ago.
Carter, who has denied the allegations, was shown the door only hours before he was scheduled to help moderate a public forum on qualities Allentown residents want in their next police chief.
Eichenwald said Wasserman's firm, not Carter, is the issue. She questioned the judgment of the firm, saying it did not use the best judgment in hiring Carter.
Francis Dougherty, Allentown’s managing director, told council: “Mr. Wasserman has a tremendous reputation in the field of criminology and police. His record speaks for itself. We are sticking with the Strategic Policy Partners.”
Guridy suggested council might meet individually or in a public meeting with Wasserman regarding Eichenwald's concerns and Dougherty agreed to set that up.