Members of the Brown University Security Patrolpersons’ Association conducted a secret ballot vote of “no confidence” in Chief of Police Mark Porter and Deputy Chief of Police Paul Shanley of Brown University’s Department of Public Safety Jan. 18, according to BUSPA President Justin Pace.
Motions of no confidence typically suggest that associates of an organization believe the person in question is unfit to hold his current position. The vote took place as part of BUSPA’s monthly meeting.
The poll results were sent via email to President Christina Paxson P’19 and Executive Vice President for Planning and Policy Russell Carey ’91 MA’06. “Over the course of recent months and years, the department has steadily deteriorated in terms of morale, performance, direction, vision and most importantly departmental direction,” BUSPA officers wrote in the email, which was provided to The Herald. “We have 67 members in our union, and 59 percent of our 67 members voted, and of those votes, 87.5 percent voted no confidence.”
BUSPA’s 67 members are comprised of many of the University’s police officers, public safety officers, dispatchers and building guards.
“Our main goal is the health, safety and welfare of everyone in our union,” Pace said. “We don’t want (Porter and Shanley) to step down. We just want the University to be aware that we’ve come to them with grievances and issues that arise.”
Discontent within the department has been an ongoing issue, Pace said, adding that Porter is “never around,” often leaving the deputy chief in control. The vote of no confidence “has been talked about for over one and a half to two years,” Pace said. “There’s just so many things that brought this no confidence vote to fruition. I don’t even know where to begin, to be honest.”
Though Paxson has yet to respond to the union’s appeal, Carey informed union members that he had submitted their letter to Paul Mancini, director of labor and employee relations, Pace said.
“(Porter) and (Shanley) continue to lead Brown’s Department of Public Safety with a commitment to maintaining the safety of Brown’s students, faculty, staff and visitors as their top priority,” Carey wrote in an email to The Herald. “While we don’t discuss labor relations matters in the media, Brown’s senior leadership is confident in the department’s leadership and in (Porter) and (Shanley’s) engagement with the officers in the department, as well as their dedication to the rights, safety, health and welfare of the members of the department.”
Shanley declined to comment for this story. Porter could not be reached for comment.