WELLSVILLE - As of late Monday afternoon, Wellsville Mayor Susan Haugh said she was not yet ready to bring the name of a candidate for police chief before village council at this evening's meeting, which is scheduled for 6 p.m.
Haugh said she has consulted with village solicitor Andy Beech on the matter and will only go forward after having received input from him.
Since the previous council meeting on June 3, Haugh says 17 application packets for the position have been received. Four of the applicants are from within the Wellsville Police Department, while others came from out of town and even outside the state.
Haugh says she spent this past weekend reviewing the materials and was impressed by several of the candidates. "We've had some excellent applicants," she said. In that time, she has since narrowed the field down to three top candidates for the job.
One of the applicant packets had to be rejected since it was not received before the deadline of 12:01 p.m. on June 13. It was received shortly before midnight that night, Haugh said, resulting in an automatic disqualification.
Haugh says she has been very careful to follow proper protocol during the process, including guidelines from the Ohio Revised Code, as well as policies and procedures from the village manual. For that reason, she says, no exceptions could be made for any infractions.
"If I'm going to go by the qualifications, I'm going by them 100 percent," she said. "I'm not going to pick and choose which ones to go by and which ones not to go by. That would be unfair."
Those qualifications include a minimum of 10 years of law enforcement experience, including three years of police management, and a valid Ohio driver's license. When asked if that requirement would automatically disqualify the out-of-state applicants she mentioned, she admitted it has "narrowed down the applicants."
Haugh says she wasn't surprised by council's rejection of councilman Randy Allmon's proposal to hire a state police association to assist with the village's selection process at the June 3 meeting, but feels that it was a shame nevertheless, since it would have removed sole responsibility for the decision from the village while guaranteeing selection of the best candidates.
Nevertheless, Haugh insisted that the person she appoints will be of a high caliber. "I assure everyone that the name that will be brought forward will be the one most qualified for the position and the best choice for Wellsville," she said. She's confident, given those standards, that council will vote in favor of that person. "I know council wants what's best for Wellsville as well."