By Jeff Gallatin
Mayor Debbie Sutherland is interviewing the three candidates for the police chief’s job this week and plans to reach a final decision shortly afterward.
The interviews come shortly after the mayor met with the lead assessor on the chief’s test, which the candidates took Oct. 5. The job came open earlier this year when longtime Chief David Wright left the city to take a job heading the Cleveland Clinic’s patrol officers in the Clinic’s security department.
Sutherland said she has reviewed the results of the examination and will be considering those results along with her interviews with the lead assessor and the three finalists.
“It was a fairly comprehensive assessment and examination which provided a lot of good information to use in the process,” she said Friday. “I also expect to get some useful insights from talking with the lead assessor about the results.”
Unlike some cities where the top scorer in the civil service examination becomes the chief, under Bay Village law, the mayor can pick the chief from among the top three scorers on the examination. Since Wright had been chief of the department since January 1996, this will be the first time the city has used this format. It has been used to select the last two fire chiefs for the city.
“It’s proven to be a good way of finding the best candidate and who will be the best overall choice to lead a safety forces department,” Sutherland said. “It gives a mayor the ability to consider different factors instead of going strictly with the results of a test.”
The three finalists include interim Chief Lt. Calvin Holliday, the department executive officer who was made interim chief when Wright left the department; Lt. John Kirchner, a shift commander; and Lt. Mark Spaetzel, commander of the department’s detective bureau.
Sutherland said, in her interviews, she will be focusing on additional topics.
“We’ll be talking about each candidate’s knowledge of the city and the department overall, as well as their ideas and goals for the department,” she said. “It will also give me some good insight into their personal philosophy about police work and how they work with other people.”
Sutherland said it will not be an easy choice for her.
“All three of them are fine officers who I’ve known for years and who have served the city well for a long time,” she said. “They’re all top professionals, and we’ll have a good chief whoever the final choice turns out to be.”