Line of succession should still be addressed in S.R.


his week, Capt. Wesley Bomba returned to the South River Police Department after almost a year’s absence. He was suspended from the force March 8, 1999, after a fellow officer brought departmental charges against him.

Subsequently, three female employees of the police department filed sexual harassment charges against Bomba.

Bomba has now been cleared of all but one of the charges and has been given the green light to return to work.

And just in time. With the impending retirement of Police Chief Francis X. Eib, who will leave in April but will not officially retire until October, Bomba’s suspension had led to questions of succession in the Police Department.

According to a borough ordinance, the next in line to be promoted to police chief is a captain. However, when Eib announced he was stepping down, the only captain in the department — Capt. Wesley Bomba— was suspended.

As a result, Lt. Michael Trojanowski acted as police chief when Eib was on vacation or personal leave.

In addition, Mayor Robert Szegeti took steps to change the ordinance to allow for a civilian police director instead of a police chief. However, that matter was defeated by a majority vote of the Borough Council.

Instead, Councilman Sal Marsicano recommended that the council investigate changing the ordinance to make lieutenants, as well as captains, eligible for the police chief post.

However, that measure seems to have come to a halt with the return of Bomba — but it should not. Just because Bomba has returned to the force does not mean he is the only choice to succeed Eib. And the council still has seven months before it needs to elect a permanent replacement for the police chief.

Open the floor to lieutenants, of which the department currently has two. Now, instead of having only one choice — which technically does not become a choice — the council will have three applicants from which to choose.

This is not to say that Bomba is not qualified to be chief, or that he should not be promoted, but wouldn’t the residents of South River be served better if there was a larger applicant pool?

Besides, even with Bomba as police chief, the line of succession can still be a murky area in the future. This is not a dead issue, and should not be treated as one.