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Out of the Frying Pan


By Francis J. Connolly

The criminal element in Appleton, Wisconsin got the bad news last Tuesday, when David L. Gorski, chief of University police, announced that he is leaving Harvard next month to head the police department in the small city of 60,000 people near Green Bay.

But it's probably not Appleton's underworld, which hasn't really bothered anyone lately, that will occupy most of Gorski's attention when he starts work next April 18.

If Gorski follows the same path he took in his 27 months at Harvard, it will be the local policemen's union that is likely to give the new chief fits.

Gorski, who came to Harvard in 1975 with a reputation for shaking things up, has not gotten along with union members here. Bent on reorganizing the University police force to increase efficiency and eliminate unnecessary expense, he faced continued opposition from the Harvard Patrolmen's Association and his resignation came after union complaints that his reorganizational changes had deadlocked contract negotiations between the union and University.

Gorski said last week the move to Appleton is "just one of those things that come up that I couldn't turn down--it's a very significant career opportunity for me." But his departure is also likely to have a significant effect on the University's efforts to negotiate a new contract with the Patrolmen's Association.

Gorski became a central issue in the talks after union spokesmen said his efforts to reorganize the force by increasing the workload of each officer and spending more money on computerized hardware and mechanical gadgetry had created "a complete lack of trust in the chief of police."

Gorski maintained that his "scientific approach" to police work was designed to "equal out the workload among the personnel," but the Patrolmen's Association insisted that the changes had resulted in a decline in the force's morale.

The impasse brought the negotiations to a halt last month and sent the University on a search to find a third party to help mediate the differences.

With Gorski out of the picture, the negotiations could move faster. Though Henry Wise '18, attorney for the Patrolmen's Association, said last week "the problem exists independent of the chief," Gorski's departure may change the University's approach to the talks.

Joe B. Wyatt, vice president for administration, said yesterday the University is reconsidering the role that a third party would play in the negotiations. Edward W. Powers, associate general counsel for employee relations, agreed yesterday that "the chief's leaving necessitates taking another look" at the question of calling in an outside consultant to the talks.

University officials say the "morale issue" did not force Gorski out of a job at Harvard, and continue to express approval of the scientific methods that they say have significantly reduced the University's crime rate.

But the union complaints certainly didn't encourage Gorski to stay on. So, having finished as much of the task of reorganization as the union seemed to allow, Gorski must have seen the new job in Wisconsin as an attractive offer.

Appleton, a city with a strong and contentious policemen's union, presents Gorski with a similar challenge.

While Mayor James T. Sutherland expects Gorski to help implement the recommendations of a recent report calling for a police reorganization, the city's Professional Policemen's Association is currently fighting the police administration for a say in determining officers' working conditions.

As the head of the Appleton union said Tuesday. "If Gorski isn't willing to deal with the union, he could be walking into a real beehive."

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