Vacancy attracts 21 applicants
BY KEVIN BONESKE
The same consultant selected by the Rhinelander City Council in the search for a new city administrator has also been picked by the city’s Police and Fire Commission to help in the hiring process for a new police chief.
Police and Fire Commission chairman Todd McEldowney said Wednesday a contract is being negotiated with Stephen Hintz of Public Administration Associates for him to conduct phone interviews with candidates who have applied for police chief.
Rhinelander’s police chief position became vacant Nov. 1 when Michael Steffes resigned after nine-plus years to begin a job with the state Department of Justice. The city’s police captain, Ron Lueneburg, is now the acting police chief while the process to hire a new chief is ongoing.
Prior to last month’s application deadline, McEldowney said 21 candidates from both in and out of Wisconsin expressed an interest in the position. He noted that number is being narrowed for the purpose of conducting the phone interviews, but he declined to specify by how much until a contract is finalized with Hintz.
Up to $6,000 is available in the 2017 city budget for a consultant to help select a police chief.
After phone interviews would be held with the remaining candidates, McEldowney said he hopes the field could then be narrowed down to 7-8 semifinalists, who would be furthered narrowed down to 2-3 finalists.
Once background checks of the finalists would take place, McEldowney said there would be a “meet and greet” for them with people in the community, followed by formal interviews with the commission, which he hopes will be able to select the next police chief by the end of March.