Rep. Lynn questions Dover police chief hiring process

Rep. Sean Lynn, D-Dover, has pushed for repealing the death penalty. (Delaware State News/Dave Chambers)

Sean Lynn

DOVER — An advertisement seeking candidates for Dover police chief that listed an advanced education requirement drew fire before Monday’s city council meeting.

State Rep. Sean Lynn asked city officials to investigate if including the requirement in the ad was intentional — and an effort to deny Deputy Chief Marvin Mailey a chance for the job.

Mr. Lynn, D-Dover, speaking in the Open Forum segment of the meeting, said he had circulated a letter among city council members.

“We have learned that an advertisement for the police chief position has been posted on Monster.com and its affiliate websites without any authorization from the police chief selection committee which has not even met yet,” Mr. Lynn said. “A recent scheduled meeting was canceled and another meeting was canceled for this week.

“What’s most troublesome about the Monster.com job posting was that it changed (the) … education requirement for the chief of police.”

Earlier Monday, Dover Mayor Robin R. Christiansen blamed the controversy on a misunderstanding.

Mayor Christiansen explained that he directed the city human resources department to create a sample copy of a job listing to receive an estimated cost to run in the Delaware State News. The text of the advertisement contained no official information related to the search.

The sample job listing version was inadvertently posted on Monster.com through the newspaper’s advertising services department last week. After realizing the error, the job post was taken off the website.

Mayor Christiansen said he first learned of the mistake on a Monster.com post last Wednesday afternoon or Thursday morning.

No decisions on any job requirements or other information has been made, Mayor Christiansen said, and discussion will not officially begin until the selection committee meets for the first time.

The first two committee meetings were cancelled – Mayor Christiansen was in Washington, D.C. last Wednesday, and a committee member is unavailable due to a medical issue this week.

The city announced this week’s cancellation on Monday morning, and no future date was set at that time.

Mayor Christiansen is joined on the selection committee by City Manager Scott Koenig, Council President Timothy Slavin, Councilman and Safety Advisory and Transportation Committee Chairman Jim Hosfelt, and Human Resources Director Kimberly Hawkins.

Rep. Lynn said several constituents voiced concerns about a purported bachelor’s degree requirement for a candidate, which does not actually exist.

“Why is this troubling?” Rep. Lynn asked council members Monday night. “The education requirement has been altered such that Deputy Chief (Marvin) Mailey upon information that we believe would not qualify to be the police chief. These new education requirements have never been a prerequisite for any previous chief.

“This raises several troubling questions. Who authored the job posting? At who’s direction? And how was it that a bachelor’s degree was now required to serve as our police chief? More pointedly, was the description altered to preclude Deputy Chief Mailey from being qualified?”

Rep. Lynn requested that City Council President Slavin order a complete investigation of the facts and circumstances surrounding the alteration and public release of what he believed to be an official job posting that would preclude Deputy Chief Mailey from qualifying to be Dover’s next chief of police.

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

Delaware State News staff writer Mike Finney can be reached at mfinney@newszap.com.

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