The Day – Retired HR Executive Brings Diversity to All-Male East Lyme Police Board

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East Lyme – The appointment this week of a woman with a background in human resources management brought diversity to the all-male police commission.

Selectmen unanimously appointed Regina Hitchery to the vacant post since the start of the year. She said she had lived in the city full time for 11 years and had “drifted” for 23 years before, told the board on Wednesday that she wanted to help pursue what she saw as ” excellent work “in the police commission.

“The meeting I attended, I found it to be very collaborative, non-partisan,” she said, “and that’s the way I like to work.”

An unaffiliated voter, Hitchery joins two Democrats, a Republican and three other unaffiliated members of the commission.

In a phone call Thursday, she said she lends “a good understanding of human behavior” to her role on the commission.

“I bring an appreciation for complex organizations. I bring a variety of experiences. I have lived and worked in three countries, several states and for three large companies,” she said.

According to her resume, Hitchery retired as vice president of human resources at aluminum producer and supplier Alcoa Inc. in 2010. Her career has spanned continents, from nearby Pratt & Whitney offices to the start. , in Paris while working for Otis Elevator. , in London when he served as senior vice president of a global technology company later acquired by Schneider Electric.

First Selectman Mark Nickerson described the post as “long vacant” when he introduced Hitchery at Wednesday’s meeting.

“Sometimes you just wait on purpose to find the right person,” he said. “And we did the right thing in the meantime.”

The lack of diversity within the seven-member committee became a topic of discussion during this year’s budget process, when Finance Council President Camille Alberti brought it up in a vote on the proposed addition of two police positions in 2021-2022. spending plan.

She noted during a discussion in April that the single woman on the commission resigned in January.

“So we have six police commissioners left, all white men, half of whom were law enforcement,” Alberti said.

Lisa Pellegrini’s resignation from the police commission was announced at this year’s first Board of Selectmen meeting. Nickerson said in April that selectmen had struggled to find a diverse candidate for the job, but added: “This is our goal.”

Selectwoman Rose Ann Hardy asked Hitchery ahead of her meeting on Wednesday what she thought of the finance board’s decision to hire one cop this year instead of two.

Hitchery responded that Police Chief Michael Finkelstein and members of the commission provided good rationale for the benefits of increased policing, “as the city has grown and the demand on the city increased”.

“I could also see why, for budgetary reasons, the decision was made to partially approve now and look to the future for more people to join the police force,” Hitchery said.

Alberti, the chairman of the finance council who is now running for the first elected as a Democratic candidate, told The Day in a phone call Thursday that she was impressed with Hitchery to see both sides of the issue.

She also appreciated Hitchery’s assertion that problems should be analyzed on the basis of questions such as “What do citizens want?” “

As for the issue of diversity, Alberti described herself as happy to see the vacant post filled by a woman. “And I look forward to having a person of color to fill this commission in the future,” she said.

Selectman Kevin Seery, the Republican candidate for first selectman, said over the phone Thursday that Hitchery “brings a good prospect” to the police board. Citing the existing representation of former law enforcement officers and a member of the National Guard, he said Hitchery’s skills would complement those already on the commission.

“We really wanted to find the right person who would also bring some diversity,” he said of the selection process. “And Regina does that.

Seery said he knew a few people who had expressed interest in the job, including someone with experience in probation. But he said it was explained that the selectmen were looking for more diversity.

“Because right now they’re all men on the police board,” he said. “We all felt unanimously that we needed to have a woman on the board to bring some diversification to it.”

Hitchery’s term expires in January. Seery noted that two other terms of the staggered commission expire at the same time.

“It looks like we will have opportunities to bring more diversification to it,” he said.

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