Wethersfield Police Chief Fights to Keep Job

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Wethersfield’s police chief is on defense.

The town is considering whether James Cetran should be let go after serving the community for nearly a half century.

“I’m hanging in there,” said Cetran. “I never expected to be in this kind of position. But I am. So I have to go in there and face the music.”

Cetran headed into a special meeting where the Town Council debated whether to fire him. Dozens of people packed the room, including many of his supporters.

“I feel like he’s not being treated fairly,” said Nick Nocida of Wethersfield.

An attorney for the town manager argues there was just cause to let Cetran go. The attorney said the chief broke an agreement when he withdrew his notice to retire in August.

“There was a deal and the chief had no right under the terms of that deal to just unilaterally decide he wasn’t going to comply with those terms,” said Kenneth Plumb, attorney for town manager.

But Cetran’s attorney argues it was the town that broke the agreement first. And she calls the town’s dismissal process a sham by not allowing him to fully defend himself, including what led him to change his mind about retiring.

“Not giving him a fair shake at all and I hope they realize that,” said Rachel Baird, attorney for Cetran.

The chief’s attorney argued this is part of long-running job issues, including alleged harassment against the chief and accusations of him being insubordinate which led to him previously going on paid leave.

But the town said this issue is focused on the chief’s decision to not retire which came just as a search for his replacement was getting underway.

“Putting the entire recruiting process now in total disarray,” said Plumb.

If the town council ends up terminating the chief, his attorney said they plan to appeal.

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