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PPD chief candidate fails final background inspection

POULSBO — The search for the Poulsbo Police Department’s new chief will continue Poulsbo Mayor Kathryn Quade announced regretfully Wednesday night, explaining that her choice candidate for the job failed the final background check.

“I have withdrawn my conditional offer of employment,” she told the city council.

The candidate’s identity and reason or reasons for why the offer was retracted were not disclosed, except that a state-required Public Safety Testing assessment revealed information conducive to the withdrawal of employment. Quade said she will continue the search process, and hopes to find a worthy candidate in two to four weeks.

“My goal of course is to get somebody in here quickly,” she said.

Since former PPD Chief Jeff Doran’s retirement in March 2006, Jake Evans has served as interim chief for the force, and will continue in this capacity until a suitable candidate is found. The search for his permanent replacement has been conducted by the Bellevue firm Prothman Co., which will continue to assist the city in the task.

“I appreciate all of your assistance,” Quade said to the council. “If there is some good to come out of this, it’s that we know the process works.”

Council members Connie Lord and Ed Stern expressed their disappointment at the news, though Lord said she thought the search methods would produce a new replacement soon.

“I’m sure that we will find a suitable candidate in short order with that process,” she said.

Grant Romaine, a detective with the PPD, said he hoped Quade would have finalized a new chief so turmoil in the department could cease. He criticized the city’s use of the search firm in finding candidates, and suggested instead that they look within the department’s current roster of employees. Flying candidates in for interviews is not a good expenditure of tax dollars, he said.

“Tax money seems to be wasted on things,” Romaine said. “I’m glad that the background check did catch whatever it was.”

In a July 18 meeting, the city approved an additional $12,260 for travel costs, moving expenses, consultant fees and the background check to the $24,000 first alloted to finding a new chief. The city also set aside $22,766 as a supplement to $45,000 previously saved for Evans’ $70/hour wages, meaning the process was already near the $60,000 expense mark. Quade said the lengthened search will now “cost us a little bit more.”

The city narrowed its findings from an original 44 candidates to just five at the beginning of July. Quade will interview at least one of those candidates again, as well as look for outside applicants, she said.

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