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Malden police union delivers no confidence vote against chief

Posted by Your Town  June 9, 2009 05:10 PM

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By Steven Rosenberg

Malden’s largest police union has issued a no confidence vote against Police Chief Ken Coye, complaining that he held up the promotion of a patrolman and also withheld sick time buy back bonuses.

Coye defended himself in an interview Tuesday.

“I’m getting some flack for something I couldn’t possibly do,” said Coye, a 33-year department veteran who has served as chief for the last six years.

On Monday night, the Malden Police Patrolman's Association voted 54-10 in favor of the no confidence action against the chief. Mike Polston, a Malden police officer and the association’s union president, charged that Coye held up the promotion of a fellow patrolman, Michael Cutillo, to sergeant during the winter.

“We believe it was an intentional disrespect,” said Polston.

But Coye, and Malden Mayor Richard Howard said Cutillo was not promoted over the winter because of mid-year local aid cuts by the state. During February, Howard said the city did not receive $1.5 million in state aid because of the cuts, and chose to not fill several police and fire vacancies, including the sergeant’s position that Cutillo would have filled. At the time, Cutillo had the highest score on the sergeant’s Civil Service examination.

Responding to the police union’s vote, Howard defended Coye and called him an excellent administrator. “I think he’s been very consistent,” said Howard.

Coye also denied hampering Cutillo’s advancement in the department, and said as chief, he did not have the authority to hire or promote officers. In Malden, that authority is held by Police Commissioner Anthony Spadafora.

Cutillo, who has been on the Malden force for 13 years, could not be reached for comment.

To complicate matters, said Howard, Cutilla did not take the civil service exam in the last year and is no longer first on the list for promotion. Still, Howard said he would recommend that Cutilla be promoted to sergeant and the city plans to push Cutilla’s case during a hearing at the Civil Service Commission in Boston during the summer.

Howard also denied the union’s charge that Coye held up payment of bonuses to officers who called in sick less than five days last year. “It’s got nothing to do with him [Coye]. That’s a financial issue for us. It’s a glitch, and it will be honored this week,” said Howard.

Christopher G. Fallon, a Malden state Representative who also serves as attorney for the police union, said the vote reflected an overall dissatisfaction with the way the department is run.

“I think the latest matter has just pushed people over the threshold,” said Fallon.

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23 comments so far...
  1. I'm fascinated that the police and fire departments still expect the public to respect them when all they do is cry and whine every time they don't get their little benefits, sick days and perks. These guys are well paid and well treated. They get paid for standing around doing nothing every time we cut down a tree or dig a hole in the road. They fake injuries and illness so that somebody else can get overtime filling in for them. But take away one thing and they cry. They can vote no confidence in the chief all they want, they have lost the confidence of the public they are supposed to serve.

    Posted by bribeau June 9, 09 06:05 PM
  1. Anyone involved in the city of Malden knows that Chief Coye is a fantastic chief, one of the best around. The officers don't like him because he makes them do their jobs. No chief who does that is liked. This city can do a heck of a lot worse than Chief Coye, who has managed OT closely, again, something that has won them no fans.
    Now, anyone notice the cops get a BONUS for calling in sick less than five times? You have to be joking.

    Posted by mark0908 June 9, 09 06:21 PM
  1. So now it appears that not only do public (self) service unions hold cities and towns hostage every 3 years and are bent on bankrupting 351 cities and towns, now the unions want to run the department i.e. the tail wagging the dog or perhaps the inmates running the asylum.

    Posted by XENOPHONIC June 9, 09 06:51 PM
  1. The police do not get a BONUS for calling in less than five times. What happens is if they do have less than five unexcused sick days used then the city BUYS BACK some of the sick days. So if said officer has 30 sick days and does not call in sick at all for the previous year, then the city buys back say 3 of those days and now the officer has 27 days.

    Of course you may be saying "well I don't get that many sick days". Well I bet you don't work in a job where you might have to chase someone down and end up getting hurt in the process and need those days so you don't lose your pay.

    Let the whining from the rest of the public continue.

    Posted by Ugh June 9, 09 07:10 PM
  1. Lets see if the police did their job I would not be writing this but being a resident in Melrose and calling the police 10 times to tell them to do their job is well annoying. I was asked to file a formal compliant but what is the point. I know that the Malden cops got into a row with flagmen which shows their general lack of professionalism. Don't get me wrong there are very very hard working men & women that I respect but the NO group, which I see quite often wins out in large groups. So the point leave the chief alone grow up (that includes you Ugh) and do your job. The problem is with Malden & my town Melrose it is not about Protecting & Serving but overtime and detail work!!!!

    Posted by Melrose Resident June 9, 09 08:50 PM
  1. Ugh,
    I never call into work sick and my company doesn't "buy back" my sick days. You must be a cop to defend this insane policy. What the hell ever happened to going to work to do one's job???Policies like that and its defenders like you are the reason everything is so screwed up today.

    Posted by sj June 9, 09 08:52 PM
  1. First the police up the fire chief...and oh ya, if Coye wants to work in Wellesley, then maybe he should go apply for the chiefs job over there. Malden, Roxbury....whats the difference really, unless your the police chief and pretend that crime and all its dark side doesn't exist in Malden. A great city to raise your kids...just dont move to Bowdoin st..or any other street east of

    If you were a Malden cop, would you wanna live and raise your kids in Malden?

    anybody, helloooo?????

    Posted by mike June 9, 09 09:17 PM
  1. Anyone who has ever been in a union can read between the lines. If a union is going to do a vote like this then there are more issues than what was written. It is no wonder the Globe is going under with reporting like this

    Posted by Devals'partner June 9, 09 09:26 PM
  1. I respect the work and sacrifice of the police but am so sick of police and fire unions – they always seem to complain about some "wrong" while the rest of a city is taking pay cuts, losing jobs, and citizens are even paying extra to have their garbage picked up. The police unions are starting to sound like Scott Boras and the baseball union.

    Posted by maldenNative June 9, 09 09:55 PM
  1. Iv'e called in sick less than five times in the last five years. To think they can get a BONUS for that EACH year. Law enforcement is tough, but we all work for somebody. The rules and benefits should have some equality.

    Posted by workingfool June 9, 09 10:19 PM
  1. I've had the honor of knowing Chief Coye for nearly 24 years. He was a good friend of my 21 years on the force Uncle. I also worked with him in a few youth sports programs. I will not comment on the vote, but, on the shortfall that the Mayor states the city had over the winter. They made it up (1.2 million) without to the best of my knowledge laying off or cutting anyone. The Controller made that statement in an Efficiency Committee Meeting in the Spring. They had knowledge of the funds from last Fall......when the bond market/credit crunch on Wall Street left them with the money.

    I just wish our political leaders would just give us transparency and let us see our money. The longer they hold out on us, the less we trust them to do what's best for us.

    Posted by Bob Miller June 9, 09 11:06 PM
  1. I would like to clarify that I think most non civil servants don't quite understand. Sick time is not something cities and towns GIVE employees ie cops and firefighters it is something EARNED by each employee so it is rightfully their time. While most in the non civil service world get yearly raises and or bonuses civil servants MIGHT get a 1, 2 0r 3% raise if they are lucky. So if an employee is fortunate enough to reward someone for not abusing the system, all the power to them.

    Posted by Tom B June 10, 09 12:49 AM
  1. Chief Coye is not the real problem, he takes orders from the mayor who appointed him to the position. The city likes to play games with their workers from school , fire police, and Dpw. Many times these workers have had promotion and money issues with this Mayor, his lack of respect for the people that work for him is well known among those involved in city politics. Get on the wrong side, and King Richie will find a way to make you pay

    Posted by LEFT TOWN June 10, 09 09:11 PM
  1. Now THAT explains why Fallon did not respond to my email questions directed to him regarding his support for the police detail funding over the support of taxpayers. He IS in the pocket of the Unions. He was off the radar for me before but I will now donate to anyone running against him. --- A Malden Voter

    Posted by A Malden Voter June 11, 09 07:17 AM
  1. I used to live in Malden, on Columbia. It was great. I don't know what this guy is talking about saying every street east of Cedar is bad. That's completely nuts.

    Posted by Forbes June 11, 09 10:09 AM
  1. We hear what the newspapers put out there but after witnessing the Police Chief do something so appauling in public, I can understand why the vote of no confidence was 54 to 10. Notice the Mayors comment said "good administrator" and not good Police Chief. What goes around, comes around... the Chief must of had this coming.

    Posted by Another Voter June 11, 09 10:10 AM
  1. Oh Forbes....the key words in your post are "used to live"....take a leisurely stroll down Columbia st and pick up the casings (spent) and needles (used).......

    Posted by mike June 11, 09 12:18 PM
  1. So what does this all mean? What weight does this vote carry?
    Is it just 54 workers saying we don't like our boss?

    Posted by BilliaM June 11, 09 05:02 PM
  1. I lived there in 2007 and 2008. I never saw any casings or needles. Did everyone decide to start committing crimes the minute I left?

    Posted by Forbes June 16, 09 04:32 PM
  1. It means over eighty percent of the cops who go to your houses have no confidence in their administration. It means something is seriously wrong. Unions don't do this without good reason. This is not whining of a few but an overwhelming majority of the officers in this city that actually work.

    Posted by Tony June 16, 09 07:58 PM
  1. Unions don't take this type of vote unless something is seriously wrong. The backlash they face, from taking such a vote, against Chief Coye is unbelievable. I'm sure this wasn't a spur of the moment thing. There must be something very wrong for 80% of the police department to vote "NO CONFIDENCE" in Chief Coye. The Mayor needs to look into this. I realize that people don't like their bosses, but sounds as if there is more to the story. For the union to make this issue public, says a lot about the leadership, or lack there of at the police department.

    Posted by joe maccann June 18, 09 09:21 PM
  1. Have the mayor (look into it )? What kinda joke is that ?? It's a FOM ( friend o mayor ) that does all the citys work...... like dig up Eastern ave, (3 ) THREE times to install sewer systems that were put in wrong everytime I wonder why I see thier trucks daily riding about......... This mayor makes Kelliher look like a saint...... I'm trying to think hmmm how did he get a penthouse in the largest apartment project up on a hill ??????? Wow makes you wonder crime don't pay unless your in politics

    Posted by mad as hell and still taking it June 28, 09 10:32 AM
  1. Still the same, mayor has done nothing except give his boy a raise.

    Posted by Guess What October 7, 09 08:11 PM