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Ely Council to interview assistant police chief candidate

Keith Vandervort
Posted 10/7/21

ELY – The position of Assistant Police Chief for the city of Ely will be filled with candidate interviews conducted by the entire city council. The process was altered following an objection …

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Ely Council to interview assistant police chief candidate

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ELY – The position of Assistant Police Chief for the city of Ely will be filled with candidate interviews conducted by the entire city council. The process was altered following an objection Tuesday night to have an interview committee decide on the department’s second supervisory position.
The Employee Relations Committee recommendation that a committee consisting of Mayor Roger Skraba, council members Heidi Omerza and Jerome Debeltz, and the police chief, conduct the interviews did not sit well with council member Paul Kess, who insisted that the position should be filled with input from the whole council.
“This person will have the same kind of responsibilities (as the police chief),” Kess said, “and should be before the whole council.”
Omerza, employee relations committee chair, said their discussion considered interviews conducted by the hiring committee or the whole council.
“I don’t recall the last time we hired an assistant police chief, so we went with the route I’m used to,” she said. She pointed out that whole council interviews are conducted in an open meeting format. “That doesn’t bother me,” she said.
Council member Albert Forsman suggested that an interview committee vet the candidates so no more than three candidates would be interviewed by the council.
“There is no need to put six people through the council (process),” he said. Kess agreed.
The open posting period for the position ended on Friday, Oct. 8. Chief Chad Houde said just one application had been received by Tuesday.
“We are down a few positions right now, so I would like to see the position filled as soon as possible,” he said.
Clerk-Treasurer Harold Langowski said that an interview committee typically scores all the applicants for a position, with redacted personal information, based on a uniform point-system method. The number of interviews to be conducted is then determined.
Houde was hoping interviews could be conducted by the end of the month.
“After that there are background checks and psychological evaluations, so the earliest we could start this position would be in December,” he said.
“Even if there is just one candidate, the entire council should be at the interview,” Kess insisted.
The interview committee will vet all applicants for the assistant police chief position, and the whole council will conduct interviews.

Other business
In other business, the council:
• Approved staff and council to attend the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities Fall Conference in Wilmar, Nov. 18-19.
• Approved the posting of the Utility Billing Clerk position internally when the job description is approved by the union.
• Heard from Langowski that the bid opening for the wastewater treatment plant improvement project was pushed back to Thursday, Oct. 21.
• Approved a commercial renovation loan for Ely Portage LLC, 18 E. Sheridan St., for $17,500 for roof work.
• Authorized a raffle permit for the Ely Blue Line Club for March 22, 2022 at the Boathouse Brewpub and Restaurant.

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