Westport moves forward in hiring process for new police chief

In the matter of Westport Police chief, Mayor Michael Bruce is moving forward with the interview process. While by city statute, he is solely responsible for the final decision, he is working closely with the Westport City Council for their input on the qualifications of interested candidates.

At a special meeting held May 2, Council members unanimously approved advertising within Washington state for the position. Current Chief Bill Gibson is retiring effective July 4, after 27 years with the city.

The position ad was posted immediately, with a closing date of May 31. At the closing date, the city had received eight applications.

Applicant field narrowed

At a special City Council meeting on June 4, Bruce notified the council he had received eight applications, three of which he feels are worthy of further consideration.

After discussing the hiring process in open session, the council and mayor went into a 10-minute executive session to discuss the qualifications of the applicants. Back in open session, council members expressed agreement with the mayor’s recommended candidates for potential interviews.

The group as a whole decided to conduct an interview as soon as possible with one of the three remaining candidates and then make a decision regarding whether to interview additional candidates or to move forward with that individual.

First interview

Arrangements were made for the first candidate to come to Westport on June 8 for an interview, which was conducted in executive session.

No action was taken in open session following the interview, with the entire meeting lasting an hour and 45 minutes.

At the June 9 regular City Council meeting, the mayor and Council met in executive session to discuss the results of the interview that was conducted the day before.

In open session, the council unanimously passed a motion to authorize the mayor to offer a conditional letter of hire to the candidate and, if the employment offer is accepted, to work out a contract with that candidate contingent upon the successful completion of a background check, psychological, polygraph and medical exams.

If this process has negative results for whatever reason, Mayor Bruce and the council would move on to pursuing an interview with the next potential candidate.

There is, therefore, no anticipated date when a new police chief will be hired.


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