Dear Mr. Zobel: The new city manager is, in my opinion, eminently qualitfied to select a new police chief. As a council member, I have come to regard his approach to city management as thoughtful, richly competent, and even wise. When he asked for public meetings to discuss citizens' concerns and expectations in this manner, I was delighted.
There are many issues which have caused divisions in our community. One of the deepest divisions has been the result of perceptions concerning the police department's policies. Mr. Watson is asking us, his collective employers, to add to his knowledge of our needs and wants. This, to me, is an action of respect and inclusion. If you have no issues with the police department, Mr. Zobel, I respectfully request that you attend one or both of the meetings to hear what others in the community have to say.
For the benefit of the search professionals, Mr. Watson is also asking for additional input from city staff, police department employees, and city council members. The information from all sources will be added to the search process to create as comprehensive a list as possible. It helps to prioritize the appropriateness in fit of candidates' training, experience, and personal management strengths.
This appointment is one of the most important hiring decisions the city manager ever has to make. The fact that he is being open, inclusive, and thorough about the process bodes well for our town. I do not think participating in a community information sharing is a waste of anyone's time. You will have to make your own decision on that. I assure you that Mr. Watson will very competently make the final decision on hiring. A better informed decision because of our participation.