Much has been said about the return of former Hamtramck Police Chief Max Garbarino.
Recently, a divided city council agreed to bring Garbarino back, but this time as a liaison officer for the police department.
The vote caused controversy for a couple of reasons. First off, three of the councilmembers who supported his return are lame ducks who are about to be out of office in a few weeks.
But, we have it on good authority that the three council-elect members were also in support of rehiring Garbarino. Plus, Mayor Karen Majewski and Councilmember Fadel Al-Marsoumi, who are not leaving office, voted in favor of Garbarino.
Another reason for the controversy is the manner in which Garbarino was brought back. The resolution and contract for his return was a last-minute addition to the city council meeting from a couple of weeks ago.
We agree that appearing to ramrod a resolution through casts doubt and suspicion. As the phrase goes, “bad optics.”
The other reason some are against the rehiring is because Garbarino was forced out of his previous job as police chief by former City Manager Katrina Powell.
The reason, or reasons, for his departure are mysterious since it all was never explained, and there is also a gag order preventing Garbarino and the city from talking about the details of his firing, or forced resignation, or whatever you want to call it.
We’re not going to rehash this strange episode. But we do know one thing for sure: Garbarino was well-liked among the immigrant community during his tenure here.
He reached out to those communities, and made real connections.
That’s a skill which is badly needed in this city. We are confident that this bond will continue, and that the concerns raised by our ethnic communities will be better addressed.
Communication in this town is everything. Garbarino’s hiring was a good decision.
We wish Max Garbarino the best.
Dec. 13, 2019