Dover police chief search panel resumes work Tuesday

Robin R. Christiansen

DOVER — After a contentious first meeting involving committee members trading barbs, a councilman upset about response time to information requests and citizens chiding officials to do better, the quest to find a new Dover police chief continues this week.

Public comment is welcome during Tuesday’s gathering at City Hall council chambers at 15 Loockerman Plaza scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. and not run past 5:45 p.m.

Pledging to conduct a nationwide search to replace now-retired Chief Paul Bernat while offering as much transparency as possible, selection committee chairman Mayor Robin R. Christiansen said earlier that he hoped to fill the position by the end of April.

Deputy Chief Maj. Marvin Mailey has led the department as senior officer since Mr. Bernat’s departure in January and was referenced publicly by others as a candidate for the permanent position during the first meeting on Feb. 1, along with Dover Police Capts. Tim Stump and Dave Spicer. All three attended the first selection committee meeting, which was twice postponed before its debut session.

While Mr. Christiansen will ultimately choose a final candidate to present to city council for a vote, committee members Scott Koenig (city manager), Tim Slavin (city council president), Jim Hosfelt (councilman, safety advisory and transportation committee chairman), and Kim Hawkins (human resources director) will contribute to identifying the nominee.

A review of the draft job description is the first item on Tuesday’s agenda, followed by establishing a timeline of posting the description, closing the posting, reviewing applications and conducting interviews, according to the city notice.

Also set for discussion is advertising and search related costs.

The open meeting will allow for citizens to speak before the committee on any item at appropriate times. The city asked, if possible, those wising to speak to notify the clerk’s office by calling 736-7008 or e-mailing cityclerk@dover.de.us.

During Dover’s last police chief transition in 2014, five senior officers received a combined $300,000 from the city to settle grievances claiming racial discrimination regarding Deputy Chief Maj. Mailey’s promotion by Mr. Bernat. Then-Mayor Carleton Carey resigned shortly afterward amid allegations that he unduly influenced Mr. Bernat’s choice to promote an African-American. Mr. Carey denied the charges.

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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