JAMESTOWN — Mayor Eddie Sundquist expects to name an acting police chief within the next week to replace retiring Chief Harry Snellings.
Sundquist told WNYNewsNow that he has accepted internal applications for the interim position.
“So we had accepted application from internal applicants for the acting police chief position and we will be doing interview s and making determinations on the acting police chief before Chief Snelling retires,” Sundquist said.
He said the actiing chief will be named “right around the time” of Snelling’s last day at work.
The permanent chief needs to be someone who is very community oriented, Sundquist explained. He also wants the new chief to be progressive.
The new chief needs to be comfortable with different community groups across the city, he said.
“(He should be) community minded, progressive and really focus on ensuring we have a quality police force here in Jamestown.”
Also extremely impoprtant to Sundquist is that the new chief is able and willing to engage in dialogue with community members.
“I do it as mayor and I would expect the same from our police chief,” Sundquist said. “Even if the dialogue is uncomfortable we want to have that dialogue.”
Several applications have been received, he said, but declined to say how many over concerns of perhaps identifying a specific applicant.
As designed, Sundquist will name an acting interim police chief, which city council will need to approve, and then council will need to approve any permanent candidate, the mayor explained.
“We opened it up as of yesterday (Wednesday) and it will remain open to the end of July,” he said.
In other police news, Sundquist confirmed the city is seeking an appeal of the court decision awarding back raises to the police force.
“The city appealed an arbitration decision. That was a lawsuit that started before my administration,” Sundquist said. “The city had already prior authorized that appeal. As part of that process we are moving forward with that as the city already provided funds for that, there s no new funding.”
Not budgeted already, if the raise is upheld again, it would be a liability of in excess of $800,000 for the city, he said.
“There is still no decision on any kind of pay increases for 18, 19, or 2020,” he said, adding the city continues to work with the police union to try to reach an agreement.