Consultant will provide final candidate list


By Lenny C. Lepola -

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Sunbury Council has asked the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police to assist the village in its search for a new police chief. The OACP will provide a candidate list and final report; village council members will make the final hiring decision.

Program Director Craig King and Powell Police Chief Gary Vest were in chambers during last Wednesday evening’s Sunbury Village Council meeting to explain how the OACP consulting services and assessment centers could assist the village in finding candidates to fill the Sunbury Police Department chief’s position when Pat Bennett retires in February.

King said along with using a lead consultant approved by village council and screening by seasoned law enforcement professionals, the OACP could provide recommended candidates based on the village’s specific needs.

“Your community is unique,” King said. “You have different issues and objectives than any other community. We put candidates through a process that anticipates how they’re going to behave as a chief of police in your community.”

King said the process begins with the OACP posting the position, and funnels down through an assessment process by a staff of trained law enforcement professionals.

“It’s still your process,” King said. “We’ll write a summary and provide you with data. You will make the final decision, but at least you will have a preference judgment.”

Vest, who called the OACP process a partnership with the village, said the Ohio Association Chiefs of Police has been in existence since 1925, and has provided over 900 similar assessments since the mid-1980s.

“Every step in the process is conducted by law enforcement professionals who understand that you are unique,” Vest said. “That’s what a professional assessment is all about – and you choose a lead consultant from among the more than 45 consultants that we have available.”

Asked about the process timeline and cost, King said if posting the position were started soon, a list of up to six candidates could be available by mid-October.

“It would be a couple-month process,” King said. “You could do the final screening or have our lead consultant do it — $6,665 gets you everything, and by early November you would have somebody identified.”

Sunbury Mayor Tommy Hatfield said Pat Bennett has been a great police chief who has helped bring the village to where it is today.

“Now I would like to start heading through this process to find his replacement,” Hatfield said. “I recommend that we engage the OACP for the notification process and vetting the applicants. It sounds like we could do this for less than $7,000, and maybe closer to $5,000.”

A motion was approved, not exceed $7,000.

In other business, Parks and Safety Committee member Scott Weatherby recommended purchasing an annual Survey Monkey subscription for the village’s Parks & Rec Survey that should be launched mid-September.

Joe Gochenour reported that the 2016 Fall Festival, scheduled for Sunday, October 16, would be held this year on Sunbury Village Square. Gochenour also noted that the 2016 Big Nut Strut 5K and the Big Walnut Area Historical Society Heritage Day are both scheduled for Sunday, October 2.

Strawser Paving Company has been awarded the 2016 Street Improvement paving contract.

The project involves work on Rainbow Avenue from Columbus Street to High Street, the full length of Otis Street from East Cherry Street until Otis dead ends at the village’s up-ground reservoir, and East Cherry Street from Morning Street to just past JR Smith Park.

Sunbury Consulting Engineer Wes Hall of CT Consultants, said Strawser submitted the low bid of $500,000 for the project. The project was estimated at $515,000 with funding consisting of $180,000 in local funds, an interest-free $85,000 Ohio Public Works Commission Loan, and a $250,000 OPWC Grant.

Council members approved Ordinance 2016-19, allowing a zoning change from Planned Recreational District to Planned Residential District for 67.5 acres at 1349 Golf Course Road.


By Lenny C. Lepola

Reporter Lenny C. Lepola can be reached at 614-266-6093.

Reporter Lenny C. Lepola can be reached at 614-266-6093.