Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Wayne Police Chief Gets Vote of No Confidence

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Wayne Police Chief Gets Vote of No Confidence

Article excerpt

Wayne Police Chief James Clarke has received a vote of no confidence from two-thirds of the department's rank and file.

The 110 members of Local 136 of the Police Benevolent Association cast their votes last week at the behest of the union's leadership. They were asked to check the yes or no box followed by "have confidence in Chief Clarke," the union leadership said.

It was the first time a vote of no confidence was issued in Wayne, according to a written statement released by the PBA leadership. The ballots used in the vote were destroyed following the meeting, union leaders said, when asked for copies.

Clarke declined to comment on the vote when reached by phone Tuesday morning.

"After all other attempts [at] communication have failed, this vote was the PBA's last resort to express concern over the chief's lack of leadership, lack of communication, lack of support for officers, poor policy decisions and excessively harsh disciplinary action," according to the PBA's statement. "Since Chief Clarke was sworn in on Jan. 1, 2015, the PBA has been forced to file numerous grievances and Unfair Labor Practices and individual members have filed Civil Rights Complaints and complaints in Superior Court."

Stuart Alterman, the PBA's attorney, said "fear and intimidation" within Wayne's police ranks had created "an imbalance within the department." He referenced several "grievances" and "unfair practices" filed against Clarke, and complaints about the police chief's message to PBA members to "be careful what they say" when engaging in union activities.

Dozens of police officers from Wayne and neighboring departments attended a council meeting in December to show support for Erik Ferschman, a former Wayne police officer who filed a civil suit against the police chief and the department after he was fired in 2015 following an internal investigation. …

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