Councilman makes it official: Puts demand in writing that Dover mayor resign from police chief search panel

 

DOVER — A city councilman followed up a public meeting request for Dover’s mayor to resign from a police chief search committee by putting it in writing three days later.

Citing potential bias by Mayor Robin Christiansen in the selection process, Councilman Roy Sudler first called for his recusal on Feb. 14. He followed that with a letter to City Council President Tim Slavin on Friday.

Mr. Sudler claims the mayor’s supposed anger over a Facebook post by state Rep. Sean Lynn pushing for Deputy Chief Maj. Marvin Mailey’s promotion to chief, along with a press conference held by the councilman and the Rev. Rita Mishoe Paige, has caused a conflict of interest violating the city’s charter.

In a Facebook post Sunday, the mayor pointed to city council’s unanimous vote in June 2015 to establish the search committee. “I made a solemn pledge to each of you as taxpayers and citizens to perform this responsibility with honesty and fidelity …” he wrote.

Mayor Robin Christiansen

Mayor Robin Christiansen

The councilman cited Mr. Christiansen’s comments at a police department staff meeting on Jan. 9 that indicated Deputy Chief Mailey’s candidacy was “tarnished” due to what he saw as overly aggressive campaigning before the selection process began.

“Given this statement, there is the perception, in reasonable minds, that the mayor’s ability to carry out the selection of the next Chief with impartiality is impaired,” Mr. Sudler said.

Unless the mayor steps away from the committee, Mr. Sudler said he is calling on the city council to investigate options for potentially facilitating a removal.

Mr. Christiansen said he’s been targeted for “bullying, threats, false accusations and innuendos” and “unlike others, I have not faltered on a transparent nonbiased process.”

Roy Sudler Jr.

The city will accept police chief applications until March 17. The committee plans to narrow the field for interviews by March 29. Mr. Christiansen said he hopes to have a replacement for retired chief Paul Bernat by the end of April.

By city charter, the mayor has final say on presenting a police chief candidate to city council for approval. Mr. Christiansen earlier said the committee process will weigh heavily in the decision.

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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