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Civil service chair asserts role in chief selection


The chairman of Grand Coulees Civil Service Commission said last week that his agency and Grand Coulee’s city council should play a role in selecting a new police chief.

It’s a bad idea for one person to have that kind of power, said Alan Cain, the commission chair, responding to a news report that the mayor intends to not include the commission in the process. We don’t select an imperial mayor, Cain added. The selection of a new police chief should be transparent.

Traditionally, the Civil Service Commission has been the lead agency in the selection of a police chief, with the past two chiefs going through the Civil Service process.

The Civil Service Commission, made up of three members selected by the mayor, would supervise an application and selection process.

As in the case of police officers, we (CSC) would post the opening, arrange for the applications and testing, Cain stated in an interview. The top three candidates, as determined by the Civil Service Commission, would then be submitted to the mayor for selection.

While the mayor selects Civil Service Commission members, his influence stops there, Cain suggests.

The impact of the selection of a police chief in a small community is tremendous, Cain said, and it should not be left to a lone individual.

Some members of the city council agree. Council members David Tylor and Paul Townsend had their say at a recent city council meeting.

Their plea for participation fell on deaf ears as Mayor Chris Christopherson stated that he would seek counsel from the city’s law firm. He indicated that he wasn’t much in favor of the council playing some role in the selection process.

Current Police Chief Mel Hunt plans retirement Oct. 1, 2014.

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