Commission keeps application deadline Dec. 30
BY KEVIN BONESKE
The number of applicants wanting to fill the vacant Rhinelander police chief position remains at 14, city Police and Fire Commission chairman Todd McEldowney said at Wednesday’s commission meeting.
“The reason why we’re calling the meeting (Wednesday) is because it’s been nearly three weeks and we have not received any new applicants or resumes since the time of the last meeting (Dec. 2),” McEldowney said.
The police chief position has been open since Nov. 1 following the resignation of Michael Steffes, who left after more than nine years on the job to accept a position with the Wisconsin Department of Justice. Steffes, who has been assisting in the search for his replacement, was present for the commission’s Dec. 2 meeting. Captain Ron Lueneburg is the acting police chief while the process to hire a permanent chief is ongoing.
Though the commission didn’t mention any applicants by name during Wednesday’s open session, McEldowney suggested having a “generic discussion” about the timeline for hiring a new police chief.
“The reason why we’re here is to address the question of whether we should extend the time by which applications or resumes will be received,” he said.
When commission members discussed the specific candidates in closed session Dec. 2, McEldowney said they were satisfied enough not to feel the need to extend the deadline beyond Dec. 30 after receiving those 14 applications in the first month of the vacancy.
Given the different places where the vacancy has been posted and where the applicants are from, commission members agreed Wednesday to keep the application deadline at Dec. 30 for the time being, but left open the possibility of extending it.
To assist in the hiring process for a new police chief, the City Council has authorized up to $3,000 in 2016 for a third-party consultant, if the commission deems one is necessary for recruitment, while up to $6,000 is available in next year’s budget for a consultant to help select a chief.
“I don’t think we need to go under this year’s budget,” said commission member Sandra Bergman. “I don’t see it necessary to spend that money.”
While commission members agreed not to spend the $3,000 in 2016, they decided to have a discussion at their Jan. 6 meeting in open session on whether to obtain the services of a third-party consultant and in closed session about the candidates who apply for police chief.