Fairbanks Mayor’s office addresses community concern regarding Chief of Police hiring process

Published: Feb. 4, 2021 at 4:51 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The City of Fairbanks Mayor’s office released a statement regarding the concerns around the hiring process for the new Chief of Police.

Concerns had been raised by Fairbanks community members after eight of the 18 applicants for the position of Chief of Police for Fairbanks were removed from the hiring process before meeting with the City’s Diversity Council, which is responsible for conducting interviews.

“After the application period closed, the City administration enlisted the help of subject matter experts Ed Mercer (Chief of Juneau Police) and Greg Russell (an independent Law Enforcement Practices Consultant as well as a retired police chief) to review all of the applications with the City Human resources department. We had many more applications this time than we did the last time the City was hiring a Chief. Using an objective method of judging the 16 external applications based off of preferred experience and preferred qualifications listed in the job description, as well as adherence to City Code (including section 50-83), this group narrowed the 16 external applicants to eight external applicants that had the most preferred qualifications and experience. The two internal applicants were also moved forward to the interview phase, as has been the practice of Mayor Matherly with all hiring since his term began, including the last Chief hiring process,” said Teal Soden, Communications Director for the mayor’s office.

The recommendation was presented to Mayor Jim Matherly who then approved the ten candidates to move forward for interviews by the Diversity Council. The Mayor’s office declined to share information on why the eight candidates were not chosen to move forward out of respect for the applicants.

“We have seen some talk questioning why applicants from the previous chief hiring process are not receiving preferred treatment or moving forward in the current process. The City is dealing with an entirely different, and much larger, applicant pool, and an applicant’s performance in a previous hiring process has no bearing on the current selection process,” commented Soden.

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