Seattle Mayor Ed Murray is turning to a familiar California company to conduct a nationwide search for the city’s next police chief --Bob Murray & Associates.
The firm has conducted over 150 searches for police chiefs in cities with populations ranging from 2,000 to 3 million, according to Jeff Reading, communications director for Mayor Murray. The cities include Sacramento, San Francisco and Pasadena, California.
Mayor Murray has said choosing a police chief will be his most important job as mayor and the selection of the search firm kicks the recruitment of candidates into high gear. The position is already generating a great deal of interest around the country, according to Bernard Melekian, who is serving as a law enforcement and public safety adviser to Mayor Murray.
Bob Murray & Associates is being tasked with developing a candidate profile and compiling a recruiting brochure that will be distributed nationwide. The company will seek out candidates and conduct interviews, and then, with the help of a Seattle search committee, send a list of 3 candidates to the mayor for consideration.
So far, the only person to go on the record to express interest in the job is retired Sacramento police chief Rick Braziel. Braziel was one of the top three candidates in the 2010 search for a Seattle police chief, but withdrew at the last minute.
Last month, Braziel told KING 5 that he sensed resistance to change from the staff of then-mayor Mike McGinn. Braziel also said he was turned off to the job when McGinn told him he would be reporting to one of his staffers, not directly to him.
McGinn denied that, saying the police chief he ended up hiring, John Diaz, reported directly to him.
Diaz retired as chief in the spring of 2013 and the department has been in turmoil ever since. McGinn named Assistant Chief Jim Pugel as Interim Police Chief, but he was replaced by Ed Murray in early January with retired assistant chief Harry Bailey. Bailey has completely reorganized the top brass since his appointment, resulting in the announced retirements of several career veterans, including Clark Kimerer and Mike Sanford who were major players under Pugel.
The city has just finished a series of community workshops in which Seattle residents expressed the qualities they would like to see in a new chief. The findings will be presented Thursday night to the final meeting of a Community Advisory Committee.
Bob Murray & Associates has done business with Seattle before, helping with the selection of a fire chief, according to the company’s website. It also helped Kirkland hire a city manager, and assisted Tacoma in hiring a purchasing manager.