"The police chief search won't be re-opened," says Aaron Pickus, spokesman for the mayor, addressing rumors that City Council Members have staged intervention-style meetings with Mayor Mike McGinn, urging him to once again open up the police chief search process after losing a candidate last week. "The mayor is satisfied that he has two very strong candidates to choose from," Pickus adds.
Charles Rowland, co-chair of the mayor-appointed Police Chief Search Committee, echoes this sentiment. "The mayor has not approached us to start this process again," he says. "I fully expect him to choose one of the two remaining candidates for Seattle's next police chief."
Pickus says that the mayor's focus this week has been on helping the Ethiopian community set up today's memorial for the victims of the Fremont apartment fire. "Once the memorial is finished, he's planning on picking a police chief," says Pickus, while declining to mention just how long the mayor will take to make up his mind.
The mayor's two remaining candidates—Seattle Interim Chief John Diaz and East Palo Alto Chief Ron Davis—are each considered to have major flaws. Diaz lacks leadership skills; Davis runs an absurdly small department (39 officers to Seattle's 1,350). Sacramento Chief Rick Braziel, widely considered to be the most qualified candidate, withdrew from consideration last week.
Now, not only are an unknown number of city council members rumored to be dissatisfied with the two remaining candidates, but the Seattle City Attorney's office seems to want the process re-opened (while also wanting the vacancy filled as quickly as possible) and the Seattle Police Officer's Guild wants the process re-opened if the mayor doesn't choose Diaz.
"It’s an insult to the process to say we don’t have quality candidates," says Rowland. "We had a committee of 26 members that has met since January, and that was broadly representing this community—the King County Prosecutor's Office, city council, the police guild, neighborhood groups—they all had a voice. To say that we didn’t know what we’re doing specifically insults us and the candidates."
Once the mayor makes his selection for police chief, he must be approved by city council.