01/20/11 — Interim police chief is named

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Interim police chief is named

By Gary Popp
Published in News on January 20, 2011 1:46 PM

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Major Jeff Stewart has been named interim Goldsboro police chief and will lead the city's force upon the retirement of Chief Tim Bell while the city looks for a permanent replacement.

Despite the fact that Goldsboro police Chief Tim Bell will not relinquish his role until his Feb. 28 retirement, the city of Goldsboro has a temporary chief waiting in the wings.

Maj. Jeff Stewart has been named interim chief, City Manager Joe Huffman confirmed earlier this week.

Huffman, who would traditionally have the duty of selecting Bell's successor were he not, himself, retiring at the end of February, said he finds value in naming an interim chief nearly six weeks early.

"It is good for other department heads and community members to know what to expect," Huffman said. "It allows the opportunity for a smooth transition."

By designating Stewart interim chief, Huffman deferred the option of naming Bell's actual successor.

And while city officials initiated then retracted plans of working with a consultant to have a new chief in place before Bell leaves office, the manager said the decision not to move forward with the appointment process was the result of several variables, including the current state of transition in the city, the need to handle other matters that take priority and the limited time frame.

Huffman is confident the work Bell has done at the police department will allow satisfactory operations under the watch of the interim chief.

"Tim Bell is a very competent police chief. Things are going very well in the Police Department," Huffman said. "The department probably won't miss a beat."

Stewart has served as a major for more than three years of his 25 years of service at the department.

As the interim, Stewart intends to continue the progress of Chief Bell.

"Chief Bell has everything on track," Stewart said. "And I aim to keep the police department progressing."