Who really is to blame?

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By Susan Sharp

 Again, we have a situation where elected leaders should be quoting Oscar Wilde- the only thing worse than not getting what you want is getting what you want.

Just ask the LaFollette City Council.

In May 2009 it wanted James Lynch to run the city’s police force. He was picked from a sizeable pool of applicants. While he was the only one among them who was currently serving on the LPD force, there were others who possessed the management experience Lynch lacked.

But nonetheless, Councilman Joe Bolinger nominated Lynch citing his loyal service to the city as a supporting reason for the motion. Then with a tie breaking vote Mayor Mike Stanfield sealed the deal making Lynch the new chief of police.

Yet on Tuesday night another tale was woven as Lynch, who a mere 19 months ago was having his moment in the sun, fell from grace.

With as little discussion as agreeing to pay the monthly bills, Stanfield said Lynch was being demoted back to his lieutenant position. There perched among the other department heads was a downtrodden Lynch. His head hung low, he never looked at the council.

Stanfield said Lynch wanted this move. Lynch’s body language disagreed.

Lynch is relatively the same lawman the council hired those few short months ago. Yes, his department has incurred problems during his tenure. But as police work often goes, that is the nature of it.

But when this situation is dissected, who should really bare the responsibility for the state of the department?

Perhaps a council that gave a man a job he possibly wasn’t ready for?

Should the council reexamine it’s thinking behind giving Lynch the nod when other more qualified men wanted the opportunity?

Or was this simply another case of the Good Ole’ Boy’s Club in action?

Regardless of why and how Lynch was hired, the LaFollette City Council knew what it was getting when it promoted Lynch to the chief’s position- after all he had been with the city for many years, according to Bolinger.

But on Tuesday night, the same men who put their faith in Lynch pulled the rug out from under him.

So what now?

Will the council conduct another search for a new chief? Or will it just pull from those applications that are possibly still hanging around city hall?

Either way Lynch’s successor should take note. The hand extending a job offer could also be the same one that is waving good-bye in just a few short months.