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Town in search of new chief of police

Officials expect that a successor will not start until the spring

By Elizabeth Wilkerson


WOODSTOCK -- Though Woodstock Police Chief Jerry Miller will retire at the end of the year, his successor will likely not start work until spring, Town Manager Larry Bradford said.

At its Tuesday meeting, the town's personnel committee reviewed a proposed process and timeline for hiring a new police chief. Miller, whose last day with the department will be Dec. 31, started as a patrol officer in 1974 and became chief in 1981.

Councilman Arthur White, who chairs the personnel committee, said he felt a "level of sadness" at having to go through the process, but "when it's time to retire and you know it, that's the best thing to do."

A selection committee, which White said would be responsible for soliciting and screening applicants and recommending a candidate, will be made up of Mayor Bill Moyers, Assistant Town Manager Brent Manuel, a personnel committee member and an "individual from the private sector."

In addition, Town Manager Larry Bradford, Town Attorney Al Mitchell, Finance Director Mandy Belyea and Miller will serve as advisers to the selection committee, according to an outline of the process.

Advertisements for the position should be placed by Aug. 31, the outline says, and applications should be submitted by Oct. 16. The applications should be screened by Nov. 20, it says.

There will be a very large pool of applicants, White said, so the screening process will be necessary to narrow the field. Background checks on the finalists should be completed by Dec. 18, the outline says, and finalists should be interviewed by Jan. 15.

Since Miller's retirement will be effective Jan. 1, White said, officials will need to be thinking about appointing an interim police chief. Bradford said March 1 is likely the earliest date the new hire would start.

Councilman Ed Munden asked why Bradford wasn't on the selection committee. Bradford said he gave it "great consideration," but felt that "younger people" should be making the decision.

"This person you're going to be hiring will be here for many years. I will not," he said, as he is approaching retirement.

White said the committee needed to appoint one of its members to serve on the selection panel. He recommended that Councilwoman Jackie Lambert, who was elected last year, serve on the committee, and Lambert said she would be glad to do so.

The group "might want to give some thought" to the private sector person who will be the selection committee's final member, Moyers said. White said the council could discuss the appointment in a closed session at its Sept. 1 meeting.

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