Pawlowski said one thing he assumes will come out of that first forum is “it would be great if the new chief is bilingual.”
The mayor said Wasserman also will conduct interviews with police, including the FOP, key community leaders and individually with members of City Council to get input on the next chief. That information also will help Wasserman formulate a job description, which will be advertised in major police publications.
After the job is advertised, applications will be accepted for four or five weeks.
“Eventually, we hope to get six to eight candidates who will be brought to Allentown for interviews,” said the mayor. “That group will be narrowed to three or four candidates.”
He said those finalists will appear at a second public forum “to see how they interact and interview with the general public.”
The mayor said that second forum probably will be “toward the middle or end of summer.”
The candidates will make presentations and be asked questions from the audience, explained Wasserman. “You get a very strong sense of the candidates in that environment.” He recommended members of City Council attend that forum to see how candidates do and to share their observations with the mayor.
Those finalists also will meet again with the police union and other members of the department, explained Wasserman. After that, the mayor will make the final selection of an appointee, who must be approved by City Council.
Not happy about previous city administrators being hired and going to work before council approved their appointments, council member Jeanette Eichenwald made it clear to the mayor that council should confirm his appointee before that man or woman actually takes office as chief.
Pawlowski said every letter sent by the city that offers employment to cabinet level candidates includes a provision that employment is conditional, subject to approval by City Council.
More directly responding to Eichenwald’s concern, he said: “With this particular position, because it’s so high profile, I doubt anybody will want to leave their current place of employment before they are confirmed by City Council.”
City Council vice president Ray O’Connell said with all the economic development underway in Allentown – including the new hockey arena-- the police department will play a vital role in making sure people feel safe about coming into the city.