Granted, the City Council’s confirmation of Leonard Campanello as Gloucester’s new police chief is another week away.
But the nearly united support for Campanello within the City Council shows that he should have clear sailing toward his confirmation next week.
That means he should indeed be able to step into the role of Gloucester’s first permanent chief in more than three years on Sept. 30 as planned, allowing him to work, however briefly, with outgoing interim chief Mike Lane, who is bowing out in October. And all of that should make for a smooth transition at the top of the department ladder, with Campanello coming aboard with 22 years of service, leadership experience, and new ideas from his current department in Saugus.
While councilors may still have questions for Campanello at his confirmation session, the fact that even Bob Whynott said he’s poised to vote to confirm the current Saugus assistant chief to take Gloucester’s lead role speaks volumes about the respect Campanello is drawing even before he steps into the post. Amid concerns about Eric Smith’s qualifications for the fire chief’s job earlier this summer, it was Whynott who essentially said he would not support anyone from outside the department for a top job. And to an extent, Whynott reiterated that tunnel-visioned idea this week, saying he still fears no one from within Gloucester’s departments may have the chance to advance to a top job for some time.
That’s not the case, nor should it be. But by virtually all counts, Campanello has landed the chief’s job not because he’s an outsider coming in with mandates for sweeping changes, but because he fared best on the search committee’s assessment tests and because he has the most and best-fitting experience for the job. That’s the top criteria for any such choice, whether a candidate is from within the city and a local department or not.
In Campanello’s case, his unified council support seems well-deserved.