CUMBERLAND — Six applicants for appointment as Cumberland’s next chief of police are currently under review, according to City Administrator Jeff Rhodes.
Eighteen people applied for the position initially to become the successor to Cumberland Police Chief Charles Hinnant, who retired Nov. 1 after serving as head of the force for 13 years.
Cumberland Police Capt. Chuck Ternent continues to serve as the interim chief following his appointment last November.
Applications for the advertised chief of police position were received from as far away as New York and Alabama, Rhodes said.
The hiring process — developed by Rhodes with the input of City Solicitor Michael Cohen and the approval of the mayor and council — is reportedly on track for appointment by the end of March.
Rhodes said the city’s procedure consisted of a screening committee, a selection and interviewing committee and selection of the final candidates by the city administrator.
The selected candidates will also be required to participate in a “Meet and Greet” event intended to allow the public access to the finalists and allow “stakeholders and interested parties to meet the individuals and provide feedback” to Rhodes prior to a final recommendation to the mayor and council, Rhodes said.
Mayor Ray Morriss and Councilman Seth Bernard will conduct that event and introduce the remaining candidates, who will also attend a dinner with the mayor and councilman.
“As a result of the Meet and Greet, the stakeholders and interested parties will be encouraged to provide written comments to me no less than one week from the date of the Meet and Greet,” Rhodes said.
The process also includes one-on-one discussions with the mayor, all council members, Rhodes and Cohen.
“Following this process, I hope to be in a position to recommend a contract to the mayor and City Council for their consideration,” said Rhodes, who also commented on the hiring process.
“I wanted as unbiased of a process as I could create, knowing that ultimately, I have the responsibility to recommend the best candidate for the position,” Rhodes said. “In doing so, I am involving all the mayor and City Council in part of the process, the city solicitor, key staff members and a good cross section of the public, the public in general and interested stakeholders.”
Members of the screening committee included Councilman Eugene Frazier, Councilman Richard Cioni, Cohen, City Comptroller Ken Tressler, City Clerk and Assistant City Administrator Margie Woodring, David Smith, Kathy Getty and Courtney Winterburg.
The selection and interview committee is tasked with “narrowing the search and conducting personal interviews with the finalists,” Rhodes said.
Members of that panel include Morriss, Councilwoman Laurie Marchini, Cohen and Gaithersburg Police Chief Mark Sroka.
“This committee will meet within the next two weeks to review the semifinalists’ resumes and supplemental questionnaires and select finalists to interview.
Rhodes said Cohen was named to the screening committee as well as the selection and interview committee to “provide some continuity” in the process.
Rhodes said he asked Sroka to serve on the selection committee as a member of the law enforcement community and to “further aid in avoiding potential bias in the process as an outside voice.”
A questionnaire used in the hiring process was devised by the screening committee. It consisted of 17 supplemental questions that the semifinalists were asked to answer. One candidate then withdrew his application and another had his application removed from further consideration after he declined to answer the questionnaire, Rhodes said.
The salary range for the position is $61,622 to $113,693.