Wauconda interviewing police chief candidates
Wauconda officials have narrowed the list of candidates for the village's next police chief down to seven and are interviewing the applicants this week.
The last of the closed-door sessions are scheduled for Thursday night. Three candidates were interviewed Tuesday night.
Eighty-five people applied for the post, far more than Village Administrator Doug Maxeiner expected. They came from 16 states and Canada.
"I am pleased with the response rate, which is higher than I would have anticipated with our recent history of political squabbles here," Maxeiner said.
Those squabbles include a much-publicized battle that erupted in August 2013 after Mayor Frank Bart ousted then-Chief Douglas Larsson and replaced him with Sgt. Patrick Yost.
The moves were opposed by the community and the board, but trustees eventually relented and formally approved Yost's promotion in June 2014.
Yost held the post until he retired this summer. He's been replaced on an interim basis by Deputy Chief Thomas Bender.
This week's interviews are being conducted by village trustees.
"The mayor is planning on attending but not participating in the questioning," said Maxeiner, who also is participating in the sessions.
The interviews can be closed to the public because Illinois law allows elected officials to discuss personnel matters privately.
After the trustees speak with the seven candidates, they're expected to recommend three finalists to Bart for consideration. He and Maxeiner will re-interview the three finalists.
It's legally up to Bart to recommend one of the applicants to the board, which then will vote on the appointment. That vote is expected next month, likely at the board's Dec. 15 meeting, Maxeiner said.
Thursday's interviews are set to begin at 6 p.m. at village hall. Four candidates are scheduled to be interviewed.
One of the biggest tasks for the next police chief will be evaluating the department staff, programs and processes, Trustee Chuck Black said, and then implementing changes.
"I believe that we have a solid police force with good people," Black said. "I think this is an excellent opportunity for whomever the new chief will be."
Trustee Linda Starkey said her ideal candidate will offer leadership and training abilities, and bring stability to the department, which recently has been dealing with the pending closure of its 911 dispatch center. Increasing public outreach and community involvement should be priorities, too, Starkey said.
Officials expect to pay the new chief between $115,000 and $130,000 annually, depending on qualifications, Maxeiner said.
A Northbrook consulting firm called GovHR USA headed the search for a new chief. It was paid $15,000 for the task.
GovHR USA is the same company that lured Maxeiner to Wauconda in 2013.