Inver Grove Heights selects consulting group in police chief search

At its June 12 meeting, the Inver Grove Heights City Council voted to select Springsted Waters as the consulting firm to be used in the city’s search for a new police chief. 

The council voted, four to one, to hire the consulting firm, with council member Kara Perry as the lone dissenter.

Lt. Sean Folmar has served as acting chief of the Inver Grove Heights Police Department since former chief Larry Stanger was put on paid administrative leave back in April 2016.

Stanger was put on leave after allegedly providing information to the subject of a search warrant, alerting that person the warrant would be executed. He was never charged with a crime.

The council approved a separation agreement with Stanger at the end of last year and his resignation became effective April 30 this year.

Janet Shefchik, the city’s human resource manager, said two proposals were received, from Springsted Waters and the Mercer Group, Inc. She said both proposals were from reputable firms.

“We believe the proposal that best meets the criteria set forth in [our request for proposals] was the proposal from Springsted,” Shefchik said, adding the firm showed the most experience in conducting police chief recruitment in Minnesota.

Springsted’s quote for services is not to exceed $21,500.

Council member Rosemary Piekarski Krech said she was impressed with the firm’s proposal. She said she thinks the search needs to be carried out wider than the council and city staff have the expertise to do.

Council member Tom Bartholomew agreed.

“I think this will go a long way to help diversity and to reach candidates we may have not found,” he said. 

Mayor George Tourville reiterated what he has said at past meetings: He will go along with majority but thinks the city has the expertise to carry out the search in house. 

Tourville said residents were skeptical of using a consulting firm for the search, calling it a waste of money. He defended the move, saying the city would be very much involved in the search and that the firm was brought in to help.

Perry said she’s opposed to bringing in a consulting firm because of the price tag. She said she understands there may be some benefits to using one, but the benefits don’t outweigh the costs of the contract.

She said she hasn’t spoken to a resident who is in favor of the move, and added in the time it has taken to get the consulting firm proposals, the position could have been posted for six weeks.

“Now we have to waste another two or three weeks, or however long, to meet with the search firm,” Perry said. “We’re just delaying it more as far as I'm concerned.” 

City administrator Joe Lynch said the money to pay the firm would come from the city’s general fund.

Besides approving the contract with Springsted Waters, the council tried to nail down a date to meet with the firm.

Piekarski Krech said she thinks the sooner the city gets started, the better. “We’ve already dragged it out for so long.”

Though the council might meet with Springsted Waters on June 19, a busy council schedule could push the meeting back to July 17.

 

Hannah Burlingame can be reached at 651-748-7824 or hburlingame@lillienews.com.

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