MT. VERNON — An ordinance to amend the duties of the Police and Fire Commission to place hiring and firing of chiefs under the duties of the city manager is up for discussion and a possible vote Monday night.
Under terms of the amendment, the Police and Fire Commission will be responsible to “make rules only concerning the appointment, removal, and discharge of officers and members of the fire and police departments of the city except for that of the chief and assistant chief of the police department and the chief and assistant chief of the fire department and the board shall maintain an eligibility register of such persons eligible for appointment to each department.”
For the chiefs and assistant chiefs of each department, the positions “shall be appointed and discharged by, shall be under the supervision and control of, and shall serve at the pleasure of the City Manager.”
The amendment further states the chiefs can be appointed from any qualified applicants, including but not limited to members of the departments.
“Although selection and appointment of an applicant to the position of chief or assistant chief shall be within the sole authority of the City Manager, the Board of Fire and Police Commissioners shall assist the City Manager in reviewing applicants, conducting interviews, and evaluating applicants for the position of chief or assistant chief.”
The change comes as the city is without a police chief, following the retirement of Chris Mendenall from the position after a 31-year career. Mendenall retired Feb. 3, and his resignation was effective on Feb. 15. Mendenall had been an officer with the city since 1983, and was promoted to chief in March 1998.
Since Mendenall’s departure, the city has been without a chief, with Assistant Chief Chris Deichman filling the role. No one has been interviewed for the position at this time.