Two finalists for Perry police chief may be named Thursday

bpurser@macon.comDecember 5, 2012 

City leaders may narrow the search for a Perry police chief to two candidates Thursday, Mayor Jimmy Faircloth said.

“That’s what I’m gong to ask council to do,” he said.

City Manager Lee Gilmour said a called meeting has been scheduled for 5 p.m. Thursday to determine what the next step will be in the search process.

Mayor and council earlier held interviews for six candidates, including two captains already on the force, and have completed reference checks, Gilmour said.

When asked if a new chief could be named at the meeting, Gilmour said, “It’s possible but not probable.”

Faircloth said he anticipates meeting in a closed session to give council members a chance to ask any questions they may have about the six finalists and then to decide if they are ready to narrow the field. If in agreement to narrow the field to two, council is expected to reconvene in open session to vote and name the final two candidates, he said.

Once candidates are narrowed to three or less, their identities are public under state law, Faircloth said. Faircloth said he anticipates interviews for the two to be scheduled for the following week. He said he doesn’t have any idea who will make the final cut.

The short list of candidates includes Perry police Capt. Bill Phelps, who heads the patrol division and was designated on an interim basis to handle some administrative functions of the department, and Capt. Heath Dykes, who is in charge of the criminal investigations division.

The other candidates have not been named, with Gilmour citing the confidentiality of the search process. But it’s been no secret Phelps and Dykes are candidates.

The opening was created by the June retirement of George Potter as the director of public safety.

After Thursday, the next council meeting is a work session Jan. 3. But Faircloth said council may call a meeting to name the new police chief before Christmas.

“I’m as anxious as everybody else to have this selection process completed, but the one thing that the council was adamant about, including myself, was that we take an appropriate amount of time to make the right decision for the city of Perry, and I think we’ve done that.”

To contact writer Becky Purser, call 256-9559.

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