With Nantucket Police Department chief Bill Pittman set to retire on Nov. 30, there will be a gap of more than a month until his successor, Jody Kasper, is sworn-in to lead the island police force sometime in January.
For that period, deputy police chief Charles Gibson, the husband of town manager Libby Gibson, has been named interim police chief. The decision was not announced publicly, and the Current only learned of it after receiving an out-of-office away message reply from Pittman.
Town manager Libby Gibson was also away this week, and assistant town manager Rick Sears replied to an inquiry from the Current about the decision.
“This is straight-forward,” Sears stated in an e-mail. “The Police Department General Orders state that in the event the Chief is not available for service, the Deputy Chief is designated the Officer-in-Charge, assuming the duties of the Chief. Therefore, when Chief Pittman retires, Deputy Chief Gibson becomes the designated Officer-in-Charge. There is no specific appointment, and this designation protocol has been in place for decades.”
Sears stated that while there is no requirement to notify the Select Board, its members were made aware of the decision through “formal disclosures.”
Regarding the appearance or potential for a conflict of interest with Gibson reporting to his wife, Sears stated “Anytime Deputy Chief Gibson is Officer-in-Charge he reports to an Assistant Town Manager, not Mrs. Gibson. From the time Chief Pittman retires and until Chief Kasper arrives, Deputy Chief Gibson will report to me.”
In a similar situation with the Nantucket Fire Department following the departure of former fire chief Steve Murphy in August 2022, the town opted to recruit and hire a temporary replacement - Martin Greene - at a rate of $600 per day, rather than name then-deputy fire chief Sean Mitchell as the interim chief. Greene served in the interim role for nearly two months.