FRAMINGHAM — In a sign of the widening rift between the police department’s ranking officers and its top brass, members of the union representing superior officers signaled last month they have no confidence in Chief Ken Ferguson and his deputies to lead the department.
The Framingham Police Superior Officers Association, the 27-member union that represents sergeants and lieutenants, held a vote of no confidence in Ferguson’s administration in early April.
Sgt. Scott Brown, the union’s president, said union members have been “harassed” and mistreated by Ferguson’s deputy chiefs, whom he said have shown a level of “steady disrespect” for the department’s superior officers.
“It centers around the deputy chiefs and their targeting of employees for disciplinary action … ,” Brown said of the no confidence vote. “It’s just their general discourse between administration and the ranking officers. It’s a prevailing, harassing attitude.”
Brown said 24 union members participated in the April 7 vote, which was split into a pair of questions: one asking whether members have confidence in the police administration, and a second asking whether they have no confidence in Ferguson and his deputies.
While some members of the group abstained, Brown said not a single officer voiced support for the chief.
“He did not receive a single vote of support from the superior officers,” Brown said.
Asked earlier this week to discuss the union’s position, Ferguson referred questions to Town Manager Bob Halpin. In a brief statement provided to the Daily News, Halpin acknowledged the no confidence vote, saying the union had posted a statement regarding its position on the association’s bulletin board at police headquarters.
“Since that time there has be no communication from the union on the reasoning for this vote,” Halpin wrote. “Meanwhile, the town manager and chief of police actively promote healthy and productive labor/management relations and therefore we decline further comment at this time.”
The union poll marks the latest development in a turbulent stretch for Ferguson, a 31-year veteran of the department who became police chief in 2013.
In September, Ferguson placed the department’s longtime evidence room officer, Alan Dubeshter, on administrative leave. Two months later, the chief was forced to publicly acknowledge that investigators from the state Attorney General’s Office are conducting a probe about money that went missing from police headquarters.
The admission came after an internal email regarding the investigation was leaked to a local television station. Dubeshter, who has not been publicly identified as a suspect in the case, has since resigned.