10/23/11 — City not likely to name police chief until 2012

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City not likely to name police chief until 2012

By Gary Popp
Published in News on October 23, 2011 1:50 AM

Goldsboro City Manager Scott Stevens said the search for a new police chief will begin as early as November, and that he plans to name the next department head in February 2012.

Maj. Jeff Stewart has served as the police department's interim chief since Chief Tim Bell retired on March 1.

Stevens, who took the city manager position less than two months ago, said allowing Stewart's nearly year-long interim tenure to continue for a few more months will allow the new city manager to become better acquainted with the city and its needs before naming the next chief.

Stevens said he expects the city to take a hands-on approach, instead of hiring a consulting firm, which was being considered last year, when it becomes time to sift through applications and to screen candidates.

"We are going to do as much as we can by ourselves," he said. "I never like to spend money I don't have to spend, whether it is my own or the city's."

Stevens said preliminary estimates were in the "$20,000 range" to have a consulting firm facilitate the hiring process.

Instead, Stevens intends on the city assembling a team of personnel to do the posting of the job advertisement and applicant screening.

He added that the city might hire an agency to perform background checks on the final pool of candidates.

As city manager, Stevens will make the final selection.

"I hope it will be a hard decision. I hope it will be a tough choice between two or three well-qualified candidates," he said.

Stevens said he will look for a person who has the ability to communicate well with fellow officers and the public.

"The chief needs to be able to clearly explain what we are doing and why we are doing it," he said.

Stewart, as the interim chief, would be an obvious choice to succeed Bell. Stevens said he expects Stewart to apply for the position, but added that he is not sure what the major will decide.

Stevens said he is pleased to have the opportunity to watch Stewart serve as interim chief, and that he thinks he has done well.

"Jeff (Stewart) is doing a good job, and he seems to be enjoying it," Stevens said.

Stewart declined to comment on his future intentions concerning the impending job opening.

According to city's salary schedule, the position of Goldsboro police chief has a hiring rate of $74,960. The schedule lists the position's salary midpoint at $93,700 and maximum at $112,400.