Fitchburg, Massachusetts, is a crumbling mill town in the northern end of mid-state Worcester County. The two biggest “employers” in the city are probably Fitchburg State College, a former teachers’ college with university aspirations (where, to be sure, a working- or middle-class student can get a functional education at a reasonable price), and welfare. As in every town with a lot of AFDC/SSDI/Section8 scammery going on, the welfare safey net supports a broad and deep criminal underclass, kept numb on drugs sourced through burglary, auto theft, robbery, prostitution, and various other crimes the MA criminal courts don’t take very seriously.
But since this is Massachusetts, the welfare is seen as an unalloyed good, the drugs seen as not very serious, and the violent crime problem (which isn’t really all that bad, and has been declining, except for youth gang activity tied to immigrant gangs) is blamed on the fact that people in other states still have gun rights that Massachusetts citizens have forfeit.
So, in extreme anti-gun Massachusetts, it made sense to name an ATF Agent to the vacant Police Chief position. The three finalists were all from anti-gun agencies: Chicago PD, NYPD, and ATF. And Mayor Lisa Wong picked the ATF guy, one Scott Heagney, RAIC in ATF’s Rochester, NY office — but couldn’t get him through a background check. D’oh!
Mayor Lisa A. Wong has withdrawn her nomination of U.S. Department of Justice Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Agent Scott Heagney for the position of police chief.
Ms. Wong made the announcement to city councilors in an email Tuesday afternoon.
“The nomination was subject to the execution of a contract and a background check, both of which have been suspended,” the email said. “At this time, I believe the best course of action for the city to take is to re-advertise the position.”
Earlier Tuesday, City Clerk Anna M. Farrell notified councilors the special meeting scheduled Thursday to confirm Mr. Heagney’s appointment had been canceled.
Ms. Wong would not say why she made the decision.
She said she initially postponed Mr. Heagney’s confirmation because she was not able to complete a background check on him and later “chose not to try.”
Another local paper (not linked because the page has Undertone malware on it) indicates that Wong is being very coy about exactly why Heagney was rejected. He had already been offered the job, and had accepted and changed his LinkedIn profile (he has since changed it back).
That’s OK, though, because Heagney is still on the job with ATF in Rochester.
“I think it would be inappropriate for me to comment on a process that I’ve already decided is over and (appropriate) to proceed with moving forward,” Wong said Tuesday night. “It’s a very important position. We have big shoes to fill, so I think I’m going to concentrate on the task at hand.”
She said she was “not at liberty to discuss” what led to her decision.
Earlier Tuesday, following the announcement of the cancellation of the Thursday meetings where Heagney was to meet the full City Council for the first time, Wong had said she was waiting for some background-check information to come from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Heagney works as resident agent-in-charge of the agency’s Rochester, N.Y., field office.
She said that particular background information was not received Tuesday, but it appeared other information had been obtained.
“Background checks are pretty thorough, so we’ve been getting lots and lots of information throughout the day, every day,” Wong said. “At some point, I made a decision to not move forward.”
“The nomination was subject to the execution of a contract and background check, both of which have been suspended,” Wong wrote in a late Tuesday afternoon email to city councilors, employees and the press. “At this time, I believe the best course of action for the city to take is to re-advertise the position.”
It does sound like Wong is a pretty flighty person here. There’s one other clue at the Sentinel and Enterprise (the paper with the malware):
A letter from an anonymous resident of Attleboro, who was very critical of Heagney and his brother, who is Attleboro’s police chief, was sent to Wong, the City Council and the Sentinel & Enterprise. Wong acknowledged receipt of the letter and said it played no part in her decision.
We doubt any city ever took note of an anonymous letter on a police search. However, that did give us a clue to check the northeastshooters.com board for Heagney information. It turns out that Scott Heagney’s brother, the Chief in Attleboro, MA (which is down near the Rhode Island border) is a bitter opponent of civilian gun use, and throws many obstacles in the way of LTC applicants. Of course, one brother may well differ politically and in policy preferences from another.
Note to the reader: we normally try to link all quotes, but if a page has Undertone or other intrusive malware on it, we won’t.