Dauphin Island: Honesty, Integrity, Transparency
This is an excellent question. Thank you for taking the time to ask my views.
I believe an organization should try to promote from within whenever possible. As Mayor, I will try to do that very thing. An individual already working in the system should have established working relationships with others in both the department and community; it should boost morale, save money, and decrease the learning curve and any on-the-job training that may be required.
The Mayor and Town Council must work together to identify the most qualified candidate to fill all department head positions. That individual may or may not be an individual already on staff that is perceived to have been handpicked, or “groomed”, for that position.
I am somewhat troubled by the concept that a specific individual could be “groomed” to fill a specific position when it becomes open through retirement, voluntary departure, or termination. That approach can imply that a “good ole boy” system influences personnel decisions, which may or may not always be best for a community. Such an approach would preclude consideration of potentially more qualified candidates – both already within a department and from outside.
When an individual is said to have been “groomed” for a position, the following questions should be asked: Who originally selected the individual that was “groomed”? Why? What are his/her precise qualifications? Is there a disciplinary record? Were there others in the department that were just as qualified, but were overlooked for “grooming” for whatever reason?
In replying to your specific question about selecting our Town’s new police chief, I have to say that I do not have access to the information on the candidates the current mayor and Town Council has. Without that information, I cannot tell you definitively what decision I would make in this situation. All I can say is that I would most certainly begin the search at home from within our Police Department. However, our community deserves the best police chief we can attract and that includes training, experience, character, organizational ability, new approaches to improve the department, an understanding of our community, the ability to work well with others, and fresh ideas that could improve the department’s service to our community.