Six candidates recently interviewed
BY KEVIN BONESKE
Though interviews have already begun for the vacant Rhinelander police chief position, those who have yet to apply may still do so by the end of February, said city Police and Fire Commission chairman Todd McEldowney.
The commission last week interviewed six candidates, who were narrowed down from a field that originally had more than 20 applicants. McEldowney said extending the deadline to the end of the month for those yet to apply isn’t a reflection on the present pool of candidates, but rather an effort to attract more individuals who could be qualified for police chief.
McEldowney said the Police and Fire Commission will next meet March 3, when it could decide, if it would choose not to interview any additional applicants who might express an interest in being police chief, to select three finalists for the position.
However, in the event the commission would want to interview any additional applicants, McEldowney said that could delay the hiring process by a couple of weeks, rather than the commission being able to decide on a new police chief by the middle of March.
McEldowney previously noted the tentative timeline called for the finalists to be part of a “meet and greet” in the community and have final interviews sometime in March, before which the city’s paid consultant, Stephen Hintz of Public Administration Associates, would conduct background checks of those finalists.
The police chief position has been vacant 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. Captain Ron Lueneburg is the acting police chief while the process to hire a permanent chief is ongoing.
The position has been posted with a tentative annual salary range from $79,000 to $85,500, depending on qualifications.