The pool of applicants from which the next chief of the Rhinelander Police Department will most likely be selected totals 21 as the police and fire commission received seven more applications between Dec. 21 and the Dec. 30 deadline.
The commission met Friday morning to review the applications in closed session and discuss whether a third party consultant should be hired to help them narrow the field.
Commission chairman Todd McEldowney said the panel opted to retain Stephen Hintz of Public Administration Associates, who is also working with the city finance committee to find a new city administrator, to assist in the search for the new police chief. The commission made the hiring of PAA contingent on the cost of the search not exceeding $4,000.
"He's familiar with the city so we felt that would be a more natural fit," McEldowney said, adding that Hintz will be given a list of everyone that applied, along with the resumes of those the commission has identified as pre-selected.
He said the commission has "narrowed down the field" somewhat, but declined to say how many have been dropped from consideration.
"The number that we send to the third party consultant is still subject to some negotiation with him (Hintz) based upon cost," he said.
McEldowney said no resumes will be sent to Hintz until the commission has a signed contract that spells out the cost.
Hintz will go through the resumes of the pre-selected candidates and do initial interviews. He will then make a recommendation to the commission.
"At that point, we are going to conduct our interviews to determine who the semifinalists are, have that third party consultant do reference checks and then have the final interviews and meet and greet," McEldowney said, adding that the commission hopes to have the first round of interviews conducted by the end of January.
The second round of interviews and community meetings will be held in February and the panel hopes to makea final decision in March.
"The hope is that our previously established timetable (for hiring a chief) can be maintained, and that we will have that third party consultant's recommendations by the end of the month," McEldowney said, adding that the commission was pleased with the sudden surge in applications before the deadline.
"Since the time that we set the last meeting we went from 14 to 21," McEldowney said.
Because the commission is independent of the City Council, its selection of the new chief will be final.
"That doesn't mean that we won't include them in the process," McEldowney said. "That's the reason for the meet and greets so that anybody can meet them and give their impressions on how they fair."
Jamie Taylor may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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