Police chief search ad OK’d

As the county entered its 11th month without a police chief, police commissioners decided to advertise for the job in the 11th hour.

The decision came yesterday despite rumors that a proposed salary increase for the position has garnered support and will likely get the green light from County Council within the next few weeks.

Commissioners had the looming pressure of making headway on starting the search, especially since its four-month contract with an executive search consulting firm started more than a month ago.

The contract, with CPS Human Resource employees, cost $50,000. In turn, CPS will comb through candidates and present at least five exemplary contenders for the commission’s review.

Though the police chief position has the potential to pay as much as $93,000, the ad will list the chief of police salary as $75,000, a discrepancy that caused some hesitation among commissioners who believed the 25 percent difference could limit the diversity of the candidate pool.

However, acknowledging its requirement to work within its limits, Police Commissioner Thomas Iannucci said, “We have to act carefully for liability reasons. We can only put out a recruitment statement advertising how it is.”

Deputy County Attorney Rosa Flores said the ad will include an addendum stating that “a salary increase is under review.”

Police commissioners have been trying to get the police chief salary upped to $93,000 for months, in the interests of keeping the job’s compensation competitive with other police departments.

In April, Police Commission chair Russell Grady voiced his hope that the salary commission would support the salary increase in time for this month’s police commission meeting, so CPS could get to work.

Grady’s hope was actualized, however moot, as the official nod is in now the hands of the County Council, which is still knee-deep in its budget discussions.

The council has 60 days to reject the salary commission’s suggestions, which were submitted April 18, Mary Daubert, county spokeswoman, said.

That means the county has until June 19 to quash the salary increase proposal, a denial that would take the opposition of five of the seven County Council members.

Despite being armed with one less arrow in its quiver, the police commission agreed that moving ahead without compensation confirmation was the best option.

Though the text of the ad was not officially drafted during yesterday’s meeting, commissioners considered what to add and omit in the ad, including the police chief’s right to a police car.

Though Acting Chief Clayton Arinaga said he was “pretty sure” a take-home vehicle would be included, Flores said the issue is pending because of lawsuits involving other county employees involved in car accidents.

What the group did nail down was how it would convey the residency requirements, as the next chief will have to have lived in Hawai‘i for at least one year at the onset of the position. The requisite will not be included in the ad, but in a brochure that “interested candidates” can request from CPS, Iannucci said.

The ad will be posted for at least 25 days, provided the county doesn’t have a requirement that the position is advertised for a longer time period, a variable Flores said she would investigate.

The next steps will be assessing candidates, which CPS employees are expected to begin Aug. 9 or 10. Flores said.

• Amanda C. Gregg, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 252) or agregg@kauaipubco.com.

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