Mayor’s letter to City Council August 17, 2022

Dear Madam President and Councilors,

I am writing to notify you that I have made the decision to appoint Detective Lieutenant Eric McAvene to the position of Police Chief for the Gardner Police Department.

On June 22, 2022 at 2:57pm, I notified the City Council of the retirement of Chief Richard Braks and that I had appointed a search committee to do an initial review of the applications the City received. The solicitation for applicants for the position of Chief of Police was posted on June 23, 2022. The application period closed on July 8th, 2022.

Following this, twelve (12) individuals from the following locations applied for the position:

  • Two from the Gardner Police Department
  • Hardin, Montana Police Department
  • Worcester, Massachusetts Police Department
  • Boston Housing Authority Police Department
  • Boxborough Police Department
  • Adam’s County Sheriff Department, Colorado
  • Westborough, Massachusetts Police Department
  • New Canaan, Connecticut Police Department
  • Middleton, Massachusetts Police Department
  • Framingham, Massachusetts Police Department
  • Warwick, Rhode Island Police Department

Of those individuals, the Committee decided to select six (6) individuals to interview for the position. The search committee then conducted the first round of interviews.

The search committee then requested to conduct a second round of interviews of their top three (3) choices before notifying me of their selection of finalists. I agreed to this request and the second round of interviews was performed by the search committee, this time adding Gardner Fire Chief Greg Lagoy to the panel. Following the second round of interviews, the Committee voted to send all three candidates to my office for final consideration.

The finalists were then interviewed by me and the offer to Det. Lt. McAvene was made and accepted on Wednesday, August 17, 2022.

Chief McAvene enters the position with twenty-seven (27) years of experience in policing, twenty-two (22) of which as a Gardner Police Officer. He was hired as a patrol officer for the Gardner Police Department in April of 2000. He was promoted to the rank of sergeant in April of 2005. In February of 2012, he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant to oversee the City’s Community Policing Division, before being assigned as a Detective Lieutenant in November of 2013 where he has overseen all detective operations in the city since.

During the period of time between Acting Chief Alfano’s tenure and Acting Chief Kearns’s tenure, Chief McAvene lead the department alongside Lt. Nicholas Maroni. (During which time neither individual received no additional compensation or benefits for the additional duties added to their regular lieutenant positions, but rather simply did what needed to be done and lead the department when called upon). As such, since we have seen him perform the duties in this role already, I have elected to forgo the usual sixty (60) day temporary probationary appointment and submit his full appointment to the City Council for consideration following a confirmation hearing by the City Council’s Appointment Committee. 

Chief McAvene will begin his duties on Monday, August 22, 2022 in anticipation of a confirmation vote by the City Council through a temporary appointment due to the Charter of the City of Gardner only calling for one (1) regular meeting of the City Council during the month of August. Chief McAvene’s full appointment will appear before the City Council during the month of September.

The position of Deputy Chief will be posted shortly.

Thank you for your patience during this time. I, like I am sure most of you, did not expect this process to last as long as it has, but I am happy with the results and am looking forward to seeing the City move on from this process. I have full faith in Chief McAvene’s abilities to lead the Gardner Police Department and am confident in seeing general morale and efficiencies improve at 200 Main Street.


Mike Nicholson

Michael J. Nicholson, J.D.

Mayor, City of Gardner

Gardner City Hall, Rm 125

95 Pleasant St

Gardner, MA 01440