Wednesday, September 18, 2019

The Police Chief recruitment process is underway

As you know, the Town of Oro Valley is currently searching for a new Chief of Police due to the planned retirement of Chief Danny Sharp in February 2020.

The following is an excerpt from HR Director, Chris Brady’s speech to the Town Council during the July 31, 2019 council meeting
“I can tell you from personal experience, I’ve been through, between fire and police, probably about four recruitments on that level of local government. All but one was an internal/external search. The one where we did internal only did not work out. I’m not saying that would be the case here. I absolutely believe that we have good qualified candidates, but my job is to be objective and give you both sides of this for you to make the best decision.

I talked to my colleagues across the state. I asked them who’s had a police chief recruitment in the past five years. Help me out, what did you do? There was nobody that was internal only… Why they didn’t choose that [internal] I don’t know.

…I don’t think you would go wrong either way, but in the past, executive level recruitments, specifically chief recruitments, it was the goal of my previous councils/managers that they wanted to have a process that was transparent, seemed open to the community, and that’s why we did internal/external.

…The advantage you have there is that you’ll be able to compare internal candidates to other people to make sure that we do have the best of the best. Generally, the practice is for this level position, because of how critical it is, I’ve seen internal/external recruitments typically.”
The below options for police chief recruitment were included in a memo sent to the mayor and town council dated July 19, 2019 from HR Director, Chris Brady.

Options for police chief recruitment include:

Internal Only Candidates. Supplemental services from an Executive Search Firm may be necessary. The time frame is 2-3 months with a cost estimate of $3,500 - $4,500.

Advantages:
• Faster recruitment process
• Relatively low cost to the Town
• Provides growth opportunities to internal employees
• Candidate will have institutional knowledge of the Town and Police Department

Disadvantages:
• Small pool of candidates
• Potential lack of appearance of a competitive process
• Costs could increase depending on level of outside services required

Internal and External Candidates. Staff recommends utilizing the services of a Professional Executive Search Firm with experience in hiring local government executives. The time frame is 3-6 months with a cost estimate of $25,000 - $50,000.

Advantages:
• Experience working with elected bodies in objectively guiding the selection of high-profile positions
• Opens recruitment to large pool of talent
• Uses specialized expertise, professionally produced recruitment materials, and established contacts to identify candidates that meet Town Council’s preferred criteria
• Can provide for public input into the process working with consultant at direction of Council
• Capacity for a “deeper dive” into each candidate by utilizing services such as:
- Community Surveys
- Community Engagement Meetings
- Pre-Screened Candidates
- Utilization of the firm’s candidate pool and insight into the candidate’s prior interviewing experiences
- Objective, 3rd party Assessment Centers
•Internal candidates are still included in the process

Disadvantages:
• Costs for search firm fees and expenses
• Could result in the hire of a candidate with no institutional knowledge of the department
• There may be additional charges incurred such as travel for out-of-state candidates

The council voted 4-3 in favor of an internal/external search with Winfield, Barrett, Nicolson, and Jones-Ivey voting for this option with Pina, Rodman, and Solomon opposed.