The city of Cambridge will begin the search for a new police chief upon learning the news its current chief plans to retire.
During the Cambridge City Council meeting Monday, Jan. 7, City Administrator Lynda Woulfe informed the council she received Police Chief Dave Pajnic’s letter of retirement that afternoon.
Pajnic’s final employment date will be Feb. 8; however, he intends to take two weeks of vacation prior to that date. His final work day will be Thursday, Jan. 24.
Pajnic was hired by the Cambridge Police Department in July 2001, and has served as the city’s chief of police since 2006.
“I appreciate the opportunities that working for the city of Cambridge have presented me,” Pajnic wrote in his retirement letter. “I will always value the friendships that I have made here and I look forward to the continuation of those relationships.”
The council approved a motion to accept Pajnic’s retirement and to begin the search for a new police chief. The position will be posted internally, and in outside publications as well.
Woulfe said two council members and two department heads will review all the applications, and bring in the top three to five candidates for interviews. She said the entire process will take up to 60 to 90 days.
Woulfe said Sgts. Todd Schuster and Shawn Machin with the Cambridge Police Department will handle the duties of the police chief in the interim.
Pajnic said he appreciates the support the city has always shown to him.
“Thank you for the support and trust that you have shown me,” he wrote. “I will always appreciate the valuable experiences and knowledge that I have gained while working here.”
Mayor Marlys Palmer said she was “very sad” to learn the news of Pajnic’s retirement and accepted the resignation with “deepest regret.”
Vacancy in public works department
Public Works Director Steve Wegwerth informed the council that Streets Supervisor Mark Becker has accepted a new position with the city of Andover, and will be leaving the city within the next two weeks.
Wegwerth, who noted he plans to retire in two and a half years, said he and Woulfe used Becker’s resignation as an opportunity to look at the structure of the Public Works Department.
Wegwerth explained with Becker’s departure, the city has an opportunity to train a new person to handle the day-to-day tasks of the Streets Department. It also has an opportunity to ensure a smooth transition when he retires and before the city hires a city engineer-public works director.
Wegwerth’s recommendation to the council is to hire an assistant public works director instead of simply replacing the street supervisor position.
Wegwerth explained the assistant public works director would oversee the day-to-day operations of Public Works just as Becker did as the street supervisor, but the person would also take on the responsibilities of airport manager, storm water pond maintenance program, directly manage all snow events, be responsible for Street and Mechanic Division employee supervision, and deal directly with resolving citizen concerns.
Wegwerth added the city engineer-public works director could then focus on street projects, special assessments, budgeting, public works long-range-plan updates, storm water management, parks, and high-level oversight of the Public Works Department.
Following discussion, the council approved a motion for city staff to create an assistant public works director position and bring it back for council review at the next council meeting.