There's a new deputy in town Saturday, March 4, 2006
Norman Miller 508-626-3823 Metrowest Daily News
FRAMINGHAM -- For the past few years, Steven Trask has been in charge of the Framingham Police Department's safety bureau, and now he will be in charge of emergency planning for the entire town.

Trask, a 19-year veteran of Framingham Police, was promoted to deputy chief yesterday at a ceremony at the station. He is the town's third deputy chief, joining Craig Davis and Ken Ferguson.

"Emergency management, as we all know, encompasses all types of disciplines," said Trask. "That's the name of the game in Framingham, cooperation."

With his promotion, Trask will be in charge of emergency planning to deal with any type of disaster, either from weather or a terrorist attack, throughout the town. Assistant Fire Chief John Magri will be the second in command.

"I have great expectations for Steve in this role," Police Chief Steve Carl said.

Trask has served as a DARE officer, as well as the juvenile officer and the court prosecutor. He was a shift commander and was most recently the commander of the Traffic and Safety Division.

He has a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from Westfield State College and a master's in public administration from Framingham State College. Westfield is a diploma mill for criminal justice degrees.

Carl said the promotion was deserved and necessary.

"It has to be an upper echelon person (in charge of emergency planning)," said Carl. "You're creating policies to affect the whole town, and he has to be non-civil service and non-union."

Trask attended the National Fire Academy in Baltimore and has been to the FBI academy.

"He has the skill and ability to do the job," said Carl. "It's a 40-plus hour a week job. Just the paperwork is overwhelming. It's a full-time, front-line job."

It is has not been decided who will take over for Trask in the safety division, Carl said.

Deputy Chief Trask Goes Wild
Here is a man who was recently promoted by Steven Carl to be a Deputy Chief. Steven Trask is now our third deputy chief in our ever bloated top-heavy police force. The police chief also has a chief's aide and an assistant to the chief.

Watch this video and make your own judgement on this guy.

His behaviour is not that unusual in comparison to other encounters with the Framingham police. They seem to be relatively obnoxious. I consider him armed and dangerous.

Watch this video to see how a public servant interacts with the public. It's priceless.

This man is rated Best in Show for Meaningless Stupid Police Bravado.

Trask Goes Wild (Flash Video format: 7.7 MB)

Trask Goes Wild (mpeg1 format 192x144: 4.3 MB)

Trask Goes Wild (mpeg1 format 640x480: 10.1 MB)

Trask Goes Wild on Youtube

Framingham City Council to hold Oct. 23 discussion on police chief October 2, 2018
Jim Haddadin 617-863-7144 Metrowest Daily News
FRAMINGHAM - The City Council will hold a special meeting later this month to consider the nomination of Acting Police Chief Steven Trask to head the department.

Mayor Yvonne Spicer selected Trask, a 31-year Framingham police officer, last week to serve as the next chief.

The decision prompted criticism from two police unions, who released a joint statement last week criticizing the mayor over her search for candidates.

Taking up the subject for the first time Tuesday, city councilors scheduled an Oct. 23 meeting to review the mayor's nomination.

They also questioned Chief Operating Officer Thatcher Kezer about whether the city properly advertised the job before the position was filled. The new city charter requires that positions be posted for a minimum of 14 days.

Responding to concerns about the timeline, Kezer on Tuesday said the city technically posted the position on Sept. 25 - the day Spicer announced her nomination of Trask for the job. The 14-day window will therefore end around Oct. 9, Kezer said, making the appointment permissible after that date.

Some councilors nevertheless said the mayor's appointment process doesn't meet the spirit of the charter, which aims to provide greater transparency around hiring.

"It seems to me the posting should have been up for 14 days before the appointment was made," said At-Large Councilor George King, who served on the Charter Commission. Councilors unanimously backed a motion by King to ask the mayor to resubmit her nomination of Trask for the police chief job to ensure it can't be contested on procedural grounds.

"I do think that it's important that we follow the process," King said.

Trask has been serving as head of the department since the retirement in April of former Chief Kenneth Ferguson.

The unions, which represent patrol officers and superior officers, accused the mayor last week of conducting a closed-door selection, which didn't include public feedback or comment from the rank-and-file.

Spicer reaffirmed her support for Trask, saying he has extensive experience serving in different roles, including as the city's emergency management director for 12 years.

Since taking over as acting chief, Trask has made several key promotions, the mayor added, increasing diversity among the department's leadership and broadening its language skills.

As executive officer, Trask also proactively addressed the "issues of the past," Spicer said, adding that Trask should be praised and not punished for executing his managerial duties.

"Generally speaking, there are two major paths that you can take," Kezer, the former mayor of Amesbury, told City Councilors Tuesday, noting his experience appointing police chiefs in other communities in the past.

"One path is to look outside to bring someone in," Kezer said. "Generally, that is done if you're looking at a major change agent to come in and make significant changes to a department. The other option is to look at the succession planning, and sort of the grooming of future leaders within the department.

"I would say from my experience generally," he continued, "police departments, fire departments, military organizations, the preference is to have a good internal grooming, mentoring process to put people into those very significant positions. ... Folks that come up through the system are intimately knowledgeable about the community, the workings of the department, a lot of corporate knowledge. That's the general preference."

Mayor Spicer May Have Appointed Framingham Police Chief Without Properly Posting Position October 1, 2018
Susan Petroni, Framingham Source Editor Framingham Source
FRAMINGHAM - The City of Framingham Charter calls for employment vacancies to be posted for a "minimum of 14 days" either publicly or internally.

The City of Framingham may not have posted the Framingham Police Chief position as required by the Charter, before Mayor Yvonne Spicer announced her appointment of Steven Trask as the City's new chief last Tuesday.

The Charter, approved by voters and a legal document, states "Whenever a vacancy occurs, or is about to occur, in any municipal employment, except for positions covered by the civil service law, the appointing authority shall immediately cause public notice of the vacancy, or impending vacancy, to be posted on the municipal bulletin board for a period of not less than fourteen (14) days. Any person who desires to be considered for employment may file with the appointing authority a statement in clear and specific terms setting forth the person's qualifications for the position. No permanent employment shall be effective until at least fourteen (14) days have elapsed following the posting."

"No posting was placed in any area of the Police Department and no electronic communications listing the position were sent that the FPSOA is aware of," said Framingham Police Superior Officers Association President Scott Brown.

On September 25, Mayor Spicer announced she had appointed Trask the City's police chief, pending approval of the 11-member City Council. The Council has 30 days to approve or reject the appointment. A 2/3rd vote is needed.

Trask was appointed Acting Police Chief in April following the retirement of Ken Ferguson.

An acting chief can only serve a maximum of 180-days. Trask term as acting ends October 28, 2018.

Framingham Source emailed the Mayor's Office and the City of Framingham's Human Resources Department on Friday at 9 a.m. asking specifically when the police chief position was posted, for how long, and where.

UPDATED: City of Framingham Dolores Hamilton emailed Source this evening to say the police chief position was posted internally on Tuesday, September 25.

"The position was posted internally as of 9/25/2018 and will come down on 10/9/2018," wrote Hamilton in an email today, October 1.

"I am told, but it has not been confirmed, that the job was posted a day or a few days prior to the Mayor's announcement of her selection. As such the 14-day period required by the charter had not expired prior to the Mayor's announcement.," said City Council Chair Dennis Giombetti.

"I think it is safe to say the intent of the Charter, the general standard and HR common practice is to post the job opening for the required 14 days prior to announcing the selection. Posting it after you make your final decision or having it still open seems to defeat the purpose of posting the job opening and is not good HR practice. I expect the Council to query the Administration on this issue," said Giombetti to Source. MetroWest Beer Fest 2018

This is not the first time the Human Resources Department has failed to post a position for the minimum of 14 days, and not the first time the Mayor has made an appointment this year with out a position posted for 14 days.

Earlier this year, Mayor Spicer had to withdraw her selection to the Framingham City Council for Veterans Services Officer and re-post the position for 14 days. Spicer later submitted the same name, after the position was posted.

"The Veteran's Agent position wasn't posted at all; now we're being told that the Police Chief's job wasn't properly advertised. This isn't a gray area in the Charter; it's an incredibly easy, but very important process. If it's true, once again a lot of people have been put into an unnecessarily difficult and awkward position," said City Council Appointments Subcommittee Chair Cheryl Tully Stoll.

The Framingham City Council meets Tuesday night. The Council has the option to refer the Mayor's choice for Police Chief to the appointment subcommittee, to approve the position, or to reject the position for procedural reasons, due to the 14-day posting.

"It was with great concern and surprise that we learned Mayor Spicer has nominated Steven Trask to serve as the next Chief of Police for the City," wrote both Framingham Police Unions in a joint statement released on Thursday.

"The lack of any process to identify departmental priorities, community concerns or the best candidate to serve as Framingham's leading law enforcement officer is a disservice not only to the men and women who serve this City, but to the citizens themselves. It has been a very public matter that the department has been through some of its most trying times recently, and making no effort to identify new leadership that could change the climate is perplexing. The Mayor states that she wants transparency, inclusiveness and diversity in our city, yet nothing about this appointment reflects any of those edicts.This appointment was done behind closed doors, with no input from members of the department or public," wrote the Framingham Police Patrol Officers Union and the Framingham Police Superior Officers Association in a statement.

The Mayor responded to that statement with one of her own.

"It is with that confidence in the department that I chose to promote from within an individual with the experience and credentials be its leader," wrote Mayor Spicer in a statement released to the City Council on Friday. Mayor Spicer did not address the hiring process for police chief in her statement.

Over the weekend, the leadership of the two Framingham Police Unions released another statement.

"Both organizations, with the interest of the public and the officers serving them in mind, maintain that without a transparent and open selection process, simply appointing the acting chief only serves the interest of a few rather than that of the public and the men and women a new Chief intends to lead, protect and serve," wrote the union leadership.

"Our Charter requires transparency and encourages best practices in filing municipal positions. Mayor Spicer's failure to conduct a fulsome, open, and participatory community process does a great disservice to Chief Trask, the men and women of the department, and the people of Framingham," said former Mayoral candidate and former Framingham Charter Commissioner John Stefanini.

When Framingham hired a new Superintendent of Schools, the public was invited to focus groups to discuss the needs of the district. Priorities were identified. A Search Committee comprised of district employees, parents, and community members was formed. Finalists were identified and public interviews were conducted.

There is no specific process for hiring a police chief in Framingham, but the final decision is left to the elected Mayor.

However, the Charter is clear that the position must be posted, at least internally for a "minimum of 14 days."

The enforcement of the City of Framingham Charter falls to the Mayor, according to the legal document.

"It shall be the duty of the mayor to see that the provisions of the charter are faithfully followed and that all municipal agencies and municipal employees are in compliance with its provisions," states the Charter on page 56.

"Whenever it appears to the mayor that any municipal agency or municipal employee is failing to follow any provision of this charter, the mayor shall, in writing, cause notice to be given to that agency or employee directing compliance with the charter. If it shall appear to the council that the mayor personally is not following the provisions of the charter, it shall, by resolution, direct the attention of the mayor to those areas in which it believes that there is a failure to comply with charter provisions. The procedures made available in General Laws chapter 231A may be used to determine the rights, duties, status or other legal relations arising under this charter, including any question of construction or validity which may be involved in such determination," states the Charter in Article 9, Section 14.

LETTER: Framingham Needs A Transparent And Open Selection Process For Police Chief September 29, 2018
Executive Board Framingham Police Officers Union and Framingham Police Superior Officers Association Framingham Source
FRAMINGHAM - We find it difficult to believe that Mayor Spicer is "dismayed" at our statement based on the information we provided her just a few months ago.

Both elected bodies representing all the uniformed personnel serving the City of Framingham were approached by former Chief Ferguson and asked to support Steven Trask as the next Police Chief.

The Framingham Police Officers Union (FPOU) stated that it could not support Deputy Chief Trask and wrote the Mayor, offering to meet and discuss candidates she would be considering.

The FPOU has never received a response from Mayor Spicer.

The elected board of the Framingham Police Superior Officers Association (FPSOA) opted to meet with the Mayor and her Chief Operating Officer.

At that (April) meeting, the Mayor was told the Framingham Police Superior Officers Association did not support any of the Deputies serving at that time and explained that a fair and impartial process to identify and select the best candidate available for the position is what was needed.

Both organizations, with the interest of the public and the officers serving them in mind, maintain that without a transparent and open selection process, simply appointing the acting chief only serves the interest of a few rather than that of the public and the men and women a new Chief intends to lead, protect and serve.

Mayor Spicer has hired a consultant to provide a written public report of her findings as to the state of the department and its personnel.

Why pay tens of thousands of dollars of the taxpayers' money, then not wait for the report and not use its findings?

The report will be written for everyone to review, rather than a brief private discussion that is then relayed to the City Council.

As can happen in many cases, what is said and what is heard can be very different things.

The written findings will not be up for interpretation.

Deputy Chief Trask has a resume similar to that of many officers serving our city.

It is our opinion that the character, temperament and agenda of the next Chief should be as important as his or her resume.

Filling open positions that the previous chief was prevented from filling is not providing innovative leadership.

As the elected officials of the men and women who serve this community, we know that many of the issues that destroyed our confidence in the administration continue unaddressed to this day.

The most troubling question is why Mayor Spicer is reluctant to wait for the public report she ordered, listen to the concerns of the public and then have an open search for the Framingham Police Chief.

LETTER: Both Framingham Police Unions Say Process To Hire Police Chief Had No Input From Members or Public September 27, 2018
Executive Board Framingham Police Officers Union and Framingham Police Superior Officers Association Framingham Source
The following is a joint Statement of Framingham Police Patrol Officers Union and Superior Officers Association

These two groups together represent all sworn Police Officers serving the City of Framingham, absent the command staff.

It was with great concern and surprise that we learned Mayor Spicer has nominated Steven Trask to serve as the next Chief of Police for the City.

The lack of any process to identify departmental priorities, community concerns or the best candidate to serve as Framingham's leading law enforcement officer is a disservice not only to the men and women who serve this City, but to the citizens themselves.

It has been a very public matter that the department has been through some of its most trying times recently, and making no effort to identify new leadership that could change the climate is perplexing.

The Mayor states that she wants transparency, inclusiveness and diversity in our city, yet nothing about this appointment reflects any of those edicts.

This appointment was done behind closed doors, with no input from members of the department or public.

We have confirmed that the paid consultant hired to gather information as to the current state of the department has not provided a single written report or any information that would lead the Mayor to proclaim Steven Trask has done anything to improve the department or change the complete distrust that exists between the administration and its employees.

The issues that plagued the department under Chief Ferguson's leadership continued unaddressed by Acting Chief Trask during his brief tenure, it has simply been more of the same. Steven Trask served as the executive officer of the administration that made the choices that lead to officers being sent to prison, Federal lawsuits being filed from members at every level of the organization against the City and department administrators, and record numbers of requests for transfers from the department.

The men and women of this department were hopeful that a new city with a new Mayor would bring change to the old and failed leadership of the past, but instead we have been given the status quo.

It is our hope that the City Council hear our request for a true open and fair search for a police chief and give some of the true leaders that do exist in our department a chance to be heard.

We are confident that any findings by the consultant hired by Mayor Spicer, J. Flagg Consulting, will prove that a change in leadership, identification of concerns and public process are what is most needed here and not opting for the easy, next-man-up approach that the Mayor has chosen.

Framingham Police Patrol Officers Union

Framingham Police Superior Officers Association

Framingham Mayor Yvonne Spicer stands firm on police chief pick September 28, 2018
Jim Haddadin 617-863-7144 Metrowest Daily News
The mayor praised police chief nominee and Acting Chief Steven Trask for key promotions that added diversity to the department's leadership team and broadened foreign language skills within the organization.

FRAMINGHAM - With her nomination for police chief coming under fire, Mayor Yvonne Spicer reiterated her support Friday for Acting Chief Steven Trask to serve as the new head of the department, saying the 31-year veteran of the force has proven his commitment to the city.

Spicer responded late Thursday night to sharp criticism from two police unions over her decision to promote Trask, who has been serving as head of the department since the retirement in April of former Chief Kenneth Ferguson. (The Daily News recevied Spicer's statement after the press deadline for Friday's newspaper.)

The unions, which represent patrol officers and superior officers, accused the mayor of conducting a closed-door selection process, which didn't include public feedback or input from rank-and-file police.

In a statement issued late Thursday night, Spicer said she was dismayed to learn of the union's position. She reaffirmed her support for Trask, noting that he has extensive experience serving in different roles, including as the city's emergency management director for 12 years.

Since taking over as acting chief, Trask has made several key promotions, the mayor added, increasing diversity among the department's leadership and broadening its language skills.

As executive officer, Trask also proactively addressed the "issues of the past," Spicer said, adding that Trask should be praised and not punished for executing his managerial duties.

"One of the jobs of senior management in any organization is to implement or support disciplinary decisions when supported by the facts and evidence," she said. "This is necessary for the health of any organization. The vast majority of Framingham's police officers who do their job well and without reproach, as well as all of the citizens of Framingham, deserve no less."

The city on Tuesday announced that Spicer nominated Trask to be the new chief. The decision is subject to review by the City Council, which has the power to approve or reject mayoral appointees.

Trask has been Framingham's emergency management director since 2006, and has served as executive officer at the Police Department since 2013. He served as acting chief in November 2016, and was tapped again by the mayor to serve as acting chief following Ferguson's retirement in April.

Announcing her pick, Spicer said Trask has stepped up to lead the department in a way that builds camaraderie, respect and enthusiasm. But union officials challenged that characterization, saying distrust lingers between administration and employees.

The unions, which represent nearly all uniformed officers, also criticized the mayor for naming a new chief before receiving the results of a pending management study. The findings are due by Nov. 1, though a consultant briefed city staff on its initial findings.

Based on her own observations since taking office in January, Spicer said she has been impressed with the police department, which shows dedication to the community.

"It is with that confidence in the department that I chose to promote from within an individual with the experience and credentials be its leader," she said Thursday.

Framingham police unions blast Mayor Yvonne Spicer over chief pick September 27, 2018
Jim Haddadin 617-863-7144 Metrowest Daily News
In a joint statement issued Thursday, the Framingham Police Patrol Officers Union and Superior Officers Association criticized Mayor Yvonne Spicer for her decision to nominate 31-year veteran Steven Trask as police chief.

FRAMINGHAM - Two police unions chastised Mayor Yvonne Spicer Thursday for her decision to name a Framingham police deputy as the next chief, saying the department needs to look outside its existing command staff for a new leader.

In a joint statement issued Thursday, the Framingham Police Patrol Officers Union and Superior Officers Association also criticized Spicer for what they described as a closed-door selection process. They chastised the mayor for not gathering public feedback or gauging the sentiment within the Police Department.

The city on Tuesday announced that Spicer nominated Steven Trask, a 31-year veteran of the department, to be the new chief. The decision is subject to review by the City Council, which has the power to approve or reject mayoral appointees.

Trask has been Framingham's emergency management director since 2006, and has served as executive officer at the Police Department since 2013. He served as acting chief in November 2016, and was tapped again by the mayor to serve a 90-day appointment as acting chief following the retirement of former Chief Kenneth Ferguson in April.

In a prepared statement Tuesday, Spicer said Trask has stepped up to lead the department in a way that builds camaraderie, respect and enthusiasm.

But union officials challenged that characterization, saying distrust lingers between administration and employees.

The unions, which represent nearly all uniformed officers, also criticized the mayor for naming a new chief before receiving the results of a pending management study. The mayor's office hired consultant Jennifer Flagg to assess operations in the department, awarding her a $20,000 contract and setting an October deadline for her findings.

In an interview earlier this week, Chief Operating Officer Thatcher Kezer said Flagg interviewed numerous people inside and outside of the department, and briefed the mayor's staff on her impressions. He said the city has extended the deadline for her final report to Nov. 1.

"It was never the intent that this study be part of our police chief search," Kezer said. "Part of the purpose of the study was to have an assessment of how well the operations are in order just to make a decision as to whether - if the indications were that there were a lot of problems and challenges, and we thought that we would need to bring in somebody from the outside ... we wanted to get that assessment."

Trask takes over after a turbulent period for the department, which has wrestled with internal discord and fallout from the conviction last year of the department's longtime evidence room supervisor, who pleaded guilty to stealing money under his supervision. The city is also defending the Police Department against lawsuits from three current or former officers.

In a harshly-worded critique, union officials said they believe the forthcoming management report will show a change in leadership is necessary.

"The men and women of this department were hopeful that a new city with a new Mayor would bring change to the old and failed leadership of the past," they wrote, "but instead we have been given the status quo. It is our hope that the City Council hear our request for a true open and fair search for a police chief and give some of the true leaders that do exist in our department a chance to be heard."

During her conversations with the mayor's office, Flagg painted a different picture of the department, Kezer said, determining it's generally in good shape.

"You try to prepare future leadership within your organization as much as possible," he said, "so the information we had gotten thus far ... said things are generally well run, and that was sufficient information for us, for the mayor, to decide that we don't need to look outside the organization."

Mayor nominates Steven Trask as Framingham police chief September 25, 2018
Jim Haddadin 617-863-7144 Metrowest Daily News
Steven Trask, who was appointed acting police chief following Kenneth Ferguson's retirement in April, has been nominated by Mayor Yvonne Spicer to lead the department on a permanent basis.

FRAMINGHAM - Mayor Yvonne Spicer has nominated acting Police Chief Steven Trask to lead the department, choosing the 31-year veteran of the force to be the city's next chief.

Announcing her pick Tuesday, Spicer said Trask has demonstrated his dedication and service to the city over three decades.

"In the past several months, I have watched him step up to lead the department in a way that has built camaraderie, respect and enthusiasm," Spicer said in the announcement. "I am confident that our Police Department will flourish under his leadership."

Trask was tapped by the mayor to serve a 90-day appointment as acting police chief following the retirement in April of former Chief Kenneth Ferguson. Trask has been Framingham's emergency management director since 2006, and has served as executive officer at the Police Department since 2013. He served as acting chief in November 2016, when Ferguson was on medical leave.

Trask, a Framingham native, is a graduate of Marian High School and holds a bachelor of science degree in criminal justice from Westfield State University and a master's degree in public administration from Framingham State University.

Trask's appointment is subject to review and approval by the City Council.

"I am grateful for this opportunity and feel humbled by the support Mayor Spicer has given me," Trask said in a prepared statement. "I look forward to working with her and leading our Police Department. The men and women of the Framingham Police Department are among the finest in the profession and I am honored to be appointed as chief."

Trask takes over following a turbulent period for the department, which has wrestled with internal discord and fallout from the conviction last year of the department's longtime evidence room supervisor, who pleaded guilty to stealing money under his supervision.

The city is also currently defending the police department against lawsuits from three current or former officers, all of whom allege they faced retaliation for bringing concerns about the department to light.

The question of whether to promote an internal candidate to succeed Ferguson or hire someone outside the department has sparked conflicting opinions among councilors in the past. Spicer hired a consultant this summer to study the inner workings of the police department, with a particular focus on whether to hire an internal or external candidate for chief.

Spicer's announcement on Tuesday came ahead of the public release of the study's findings, which are due by October.

Asked earlier this year about her priorities for the department, Spicer stressed the importance of developing "stringent protocols on procedures and operations in the police department," and of coordinating with other city staff.

Spicer also commended Ferguson for his focus on community policing and coordination with local social service agencies.

"Those are the kinds of qualities that I look for in a chief," she said in April, "to really be committed to making sure that our community is engaged and that it is not a punitive thing when you engage with the police department, but a very proactive engagement."

According to the city's announcement Tuesday, Trask possesses the "exemplary experience, knowledge and leadership skills to capably advance the Framingham Police Department and public safety in the years to come."

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