Circosta dismissed from Community Police Hearings Board

Nov. 19, 2015 | G. Michael Dobbs

SPRINGFIELD – Sal Circosta said of his dismissal from the Community Police Hearings Board that “part of me expected it” after Mayor Domenic Sarno told three members of the Historic Commission their appointments wouldn’t be continued.

The difference Circosta pointed out to Reminder Publications is that his appointment wouldn’t be up until 2017, while the terms of the three historic commissioners had been completed.

He said that while he was “slightly surprised, it was definitely not a shocker.”

Sarno’s spokesperson, James Lydon, had issued a blanket statement concerning the changes on commissions and boards as part of an effort by the mayor to bring in new people. Three members of the Historic Commission are also slated to be replaced.

Circosta had challenged Sarno for mayor and while he lost, he anticipated that his service on the board might be in jeopardy.

He called his termination “bad politics.”

He has served on the review board, which undertakes reviews of police infractions and counsels the police commissioner on possible actions. He said he had perfect attendance unlike other members since he was appointed in January 2014.

The letter, dated Nov. 4, read, “The city of Springfield has benefitted greatly from your service as a member of the Community Police Hearings Board. As a city we are blessed to have many talented, skilled and capable individuals who are committed to public service and community.

“As you conclude your time on this commission I would like to personally recognize and commend you for the contributions you have made to the Community Police Hearings Board and to the city as a whole. I am deeply appreciative of your willingness to serve this great city as we forge ahead.

“Again thanks you for the time you have served with the Community Police Hearings Board and we wish you well as you move on to other endeavors.”

Circosta said the “very passive” tone of the letter left him with questions.

“The letter doesn’t really say anything,” he noted.

Circosta added, “It’s like a ‘Dear John’ letter. It doesn’t explain anything.”

He said that he assumes he will no longer expect notifications for meetings in the near future as there was no termination date noted in the letter.

He explained the board met four times a year with regular meetings and then for reviews when needed. These meetings were irregular and called when there was an incident needing review.

 He added that it was an honor to serve on the board and was pleased to have been its youngest member.

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