Weinberger asks City Council for redo on Murad confirmation
BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Jon Murad was named the acting chief of the Burlington Police Department in 2020 and efforts to get him the permanent job since then have failed. Thursday, Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger said he will try again.
“Our city needs and deserves a strong and reliable leader in our police department and we have been fortunate to have one in Chief Murad for the last three years,” Weinberger said Thursday, calling once again on the City Council to confirm his pick for police chief.
Weinberger credits Murad with significant gains in transforming the police department and making public safety a top issue.
Progressives led an effort to block confirmation back in early 2022 after frustration over what they said was lack of transparency and accountability in the department.
Murad says he listened to those concerns. “That’s the heart of the transparency we practice. That’s the heart of making certain that we are responsive to issues of the public, not just those who weighed into the confirmation process a year and several months ago, but anyone in our community. And I really think that’s something I’ve lived up to and I hope to continue to do so,” he said.
But Progressives say that they haven’t seen enough transformation in the issues of oversight, accountability, and no acknowledgment that racial bias exists in the department. They’ve also criticized Murad’s temperament and point to an outstanding complaint of the chief’s conduct towards a UVM ER doctor last year.
“Not only have there not been efforts to address the concerns first raised when we last voted on this appointment, and I think since then we’ve only seen more concerns come to light,” said City Councilor Joe Magee/P-Ward 3.
The make up of the council has changed since the last confirmation vote, giving the mayor a thin majority. But our poll of councilors left the outcome of the vote in question. Magee says four progressives on the council will be voting against the chief. This means the mayor needs 7 out of the 8 remaining councilors to vote yes. Four Councilors -- Joan Shannon, D-South, Tim Doherty, D-East, Hannah King, D-Ward 8, and Mark Barlow, I-North, -- have indicated they will support Murad. Ben Traverse, D- Ward 5, and Ali Dieng, I-Ward 7, both say they are undecided. Karen Paul, D- Ward 6, declined to answer. And Sarah Carpenter, D-Ward 4 never responded.
We asked the mayor if he had the 7 votes needed for confirmation. “I think we just had a very decisive Town Meeting Day where the public made clear that they expect us to forge progress on public safety -- that’s what Chief Murad has been doing in the acting role. I’m confident the council’s going to see that and confirm him, a majority is going to confirm him,” Weinberger said.
The council is expected to vote on the confirmation at their meeting on June 5.
Ali Dieng says he is working to host a town hall in the coming days to discuss the vote.
Murad has been an acting chief now for three years now. If he isn’t confirmed by the council he can still continue in the role as acting chief.
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