At the June 20 meeting of Delta City Council, city manager David Torgler reminded the council that former Police Chief Robert Thomas left Delta in September 2015 and that Sergeant Charles Kettle has been serving as interim police chief since that time.
Torgler said hiring a police chief is necessary. Also necessary is recruiting a police chief whose values reflect those of the community of Delta, he said.
The city sent out requests for proposals to professional recruiting firms and received four proposals in response (one not complete).
Torgler recommended the council accept the proposal from KRW, a Colorado-based recruiter "with an excellent reputation for recruitment and placement of public sector officials, including police chiefs." The cost to the city would be $10,500, plus later costs to bring in candidates.
Councilmember Bill Raley said he respected the city manager's proposal but expressed his opinion that the expectations of city council, the community and police department staff regarding the best qualified person, and a person who would stay here a good length of time, should be considered.
He said there were numerous qualified candidates within Delta County and surrounding counties.
Torgler said it is critical to hold focus groups and KRW would conduct those meetings with all the groups Raley mentioned to determine the community's expectations.
Raley asked why the work could not be done by the city.
Torgler noted the great amount of additional work that would fall to in-house staff to recruit at the level of police chief.
Councilmember Gerald Roberts said he was reluctant
to spend $10,500 on a recruiter, when that money could be spent somewhere else.
Mayor Ed Sisson said the former council had "learned hard lessons" trying to handle the recruitment process when searching for a city manager. That council started over with a recruiting firm.
Torgler said he would like to bring to the council the best qualified candidates and not have to go through recruitment more than once. He said a recruiting firm provides a buffer, that many professionals will not respond to open advertising but will respond to a recruiter who provides confidentiality if he or she is not chosen. "We will find better candidates with a recruiter than we will if we try to do it in house," he said.
Raley said, "I back the city manager all the way. I am behind you. I move we accept the proposal from KRW."
There was a period of silence.
Mayor Sisson declared, "The motion dies for lack of a second."
The election results are in at the local, state and national level, and as expected, Democrats are doing well in state and national races. Colorado has elected Jared Polis as governor; nationally the Republicans appear to retain control of the Senate while Democrats now control the House of Representative.
With a ballot full of local and state measures, voter turnout in Delta County topped 71%, with 15,889 ballots cast. Statewide, voter turnout was just over 52%.
Of the three Delta County residents seeking state offices, Matt Soper won over Thea Chase in State Representative Dist. 54; Mike Mason lost to Julie McCluskie in State Representative Dist. 61; and Olen Lund lost to Kerry Donovan in State Senate Dist. 5.
Locally, in the City of Delta voters rejected a .5% sales tax increase to fund recreation, as well as recreational marijuana sales. The sale of medical marijuana and cultivation/manufacturing facilities was approved by a slim margin. Delta voters also gave the city the green light to move forward with selling or trading the Cottonwood and Riverbend Park, and to sell the old Municipal Light and Power Building.