Mt. Vernon Register-News

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July 12, 2014

Chief candidate pool to enlarge

The city council will hold its final discussions on allowing the Fire and Police Commission to choose police and fire chief and assistant chiefs from internal and external sources.

The ordinance had a first reading on June 30 at a special meeting on proposed changes to the Fire and Police Commission. The ordinance is presented for second reading during a special meeting on Monday.

"We're interested in getting the best candidate for the job, whether in the department or out of the department," Councilman David Wood said at the June 30 meeting. "We want to look for the best candidate, not merely a qualified candidate."

The Fire and Police Commission are now in the process of seeking internal candidates for the position of Chief of Police, after the council formally notified the commission of the opening in June. The city has been without a police chief since the retirement of Chris Mendenall in February.

The council will also be holding a discussion on its policies for first readings and second readings of ordinances.

The issue was first placed before the council by Wood in June. Wood has been vocal in his aversion to suspending rules to vote on ordinances presented in first reading status before the council, saying there must be a "compelling" reason to do so.

Wood asked for the review of the policy during a meeting in June in which he voted against suspending the rules and voting on an ordinance for a public works mutual aid agreement. The rules were suspended and the ordinance approved without Wood's vote on the issue after Wood said he had come to rely on the policy of holding a second reading to allow extra time to read the ordinance and ask additional questions.

The council will meet 3 p.m. Monday at City Hall.

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