GLASGOW – The process of getting a new Glasgow police chief “elected” has taken a little longer than anticipated.
Mayor Harold Armstrong said Wednesday he hoped to have the votes counted Friday.
Armstrong devised this method of choosing the next chief after Chief Guy Howie notified him he would be resigning. Howie's last work day was June 20, but he has technically remained the chief for the time being because he had some vacation time built up that he is taking, Armstrong said.
The mayor had appointed a committee of six community residents, and they and members of the Glasgow Common Council Public Safety Committee met in the Council Chambers in City Hall on Saturday to interview the seven candidates – of eight who applied – who met the basic criteria of 10 years' experience, etc., and the interviews were videorecorded. Each of the committee members had one vote to cast on paper.
Two of the members of the Public Safety Committee arrived late to the interviews and were not allowed to enter, even in between candidates, the mayor said, adding that he sent them an email inviting them to watch the video with some of the officers the following evening and neither came, so he had not continued to let them know of other time options. Councilman Patrick Gaunce said he was one of those two. He said he had intended to attend at least part of an evening one but ended up needing to stay home with a sick child. The other committee member who missed the initial meeting was James Neal, and he said he had not attended a video session as of Wednesday.
From there, each member of the Glasgow Police Department was to watch the video of the interviews and cast a vote. Having everyone find a time when they could do that is where the delay came into play. Armstrong had said the voting by GPD personnel would be mandatory, but he said Wednesday that their time to watch the interviews and vote was unpaid time.
Wednesday, the mayor said he had a meeting at the police department planned for 6 a.m. Thursday and he thought the last few could see the video that morning, but because of the Independence Day holiday on Thursday and City Hall's being closed, it would probably be Friday before the votes are opened and counted.
Meanwhile, Howie said his vacation time ends Friday, although he still plans to be at Monday's regular council meeting, as requested by the mayor. While he's been out on vacation, as with other recent times he's been off work or out of town, Capt. Jennifer Arbogast is in charge of the day-to-day operations.
Three people within the department applied, plus three others who live outside the county but within Kentucky and one from Wisconsin, the mayor had said.
Armstrong has also said that if the top vote getter doesn't have at least three or four more than the next person(s), he intended to have another vote, and possibly second interviews, with just the top two or three, depending on how close it is.
“I want it to be a clear-cut opinion, especially through the police department,” the mayor said in early May, when he first described the intended process to the Glasgow Daily Times, “so when they get done and they have a chief, I don't want somebody coming in here six weeks later, and saying, 'Well, we've made a mistake.' Well, you have. You've hired them and you're going to work under them, because I'm not going through this process again, unless there's a disciplinary problem.”
Whichever person is ultimately chosen through the vote process would still have to be approved through the full council.