Municipal consultant Patrick Callahan helped the Vinton City Council replace the city manager; he now will work with City Manager Chris Ward, Mayor John Watson, and the city council on seeking a new chief of police.

The council approved hiring Callahan during its meeting on Thursday.

Mayor Watson also expressed his desire to appoint a citizens' committee to help city officials screen the candidates and offer its input.

Ward said its unusual for a smaller community like Vinton to have such a committee; Watson said he would be glad to make Vinton the first small town to do so. The Mayor suggested that perhaps another committee made up of law enforcement representatives, perhaps including the sheriff and county attorney, could be formed to help with the screening process.

The city will pay Callahan $6,620 for his consulting services; his bid was "significantly less" than others the city had received, said the Mayor.

Watson planned to meet Callahan today to begin the process. Some local citizens have also asked the Mayor to appoint a citizens committee to help with the process. Watson said he would soon present the city council a list of local citizens who he would like to see serving on that committee.

Ward said he was "absolutely comfortable" with hiring Callahan.

"He would give us an independent eye and offer another professional a chance to screen applicants," said Ward.

One or two of the current Vinton Police Department officers have expressed interest in applying for the position.

Mayor's choice

While acknowledging that current laws give him the sole power to appoint a police chief, Watson said he would not make any decisions on appointments without the consent of at least a majority of the city council

"On everything else, the council dictates to me," Watson said during the council meeting, adding that it would not make sense to make such a big decision without council input.

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Comments (1)

This is such a progressive, collaborative step for Vinton. I'm sure the citizens committee will add value to the selection process for this critical position. Well done, Mayor Watson!
By: Chrystal Young on August 19th 3:24pm

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