GILMER â€” City Manager Jeff Ellington said Wednesday he expects to choose the cityâ€™s new police chief by Tuesday night after interviewing three applicants today.
The finalists to succeed James Grunden, who retired effective Monday, include Gilmer Police Department Lieutenants Mark Case and Ron Benge; and Kyle Holcomb, a Mount Pleasant police officer, Ellington said.
The city manager said he believed a total of 14 applicants sought the job. Another who was scheduled to be interviewed as a finalist, Assistant Gilmer Police Chief T.J. Harris, unexpectedly informed the city manager Monday he was retiring effective July 14, Ellington said.
The city manager expects to announce the new chiefâ€™s name at Tuesday nightâ€™s city council meeting after meeting with the council in closed session to disclose his choice. Ellington, who selects the chief under the city charter, said â€śthe council deserves that courtesyâ€ť of being told first who he has selected.
â€śI feel certain I have a qualified applicant from that three (finalists),â€ť Ellington told the Tyler Morning Telegraph. While City Hall will close Friday for the July Fourth holiday, Ellington said that â€śBy Monday, or by Tuesday night for sure, we will have a chief selected.â€ť
The city manager said city Building Official/Code Enforcement Officer Danny Lancaster, a certified police officer who holds a chiefâ€™s commission, and City Secretary Kathy Hoover will sit in on Thursdayâ€™s interviews.
Ellington had named Harris as the police departmentâ€™s interim chief pending the naming of a new permanent chief, but the city manager said he appointed Case to the acting chief post Monday after Harris informed him he was retiring. â€śI needed someone who wasnâ€™t leaving to be the interim chief,â€ť said Ellington, who said he was shocked by Harrisâ€™s retirement.
Harris was the departmentâ€™s second highest-ranking officer. During Tuesdayâ€™s closed session, Ellington said, he and the council will discuss â€śwho will be the number two personâ€ť in the police department if City Attorney Mike Martin says state law permits discussing that topic in executive session.
Ellington said the department must have a second-highest ranking officer whether the person is called assistant chief or by another title.