Meet the second round of police chief finalists

By: Steve Archer, Reporter
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Know and Go

What: Meet and greet with police chief finalists

When: 5:30 p.m. Thursday

Where: Lincoln City Hall, 600 Sixth St.

Lincoln’s small police department could soon have a new leader.

A second round of finalists for the position of Lincoln police chief will be made available to the public Thursday from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at Lincoln City Hall.

Lincoln residents can meet the three finalists at Thursday's informal open house for what may be the most important position that Lincoln City Manager Matt Brower will hire. Residents can fill out a comment card with their rankings of the finalists.

An initial round of finalists was interviewed and introduced to the public on Sept. 29. Those three finalists were Lt. Ryan Kinnan of the Citrus Heights Police Department; Rob Jackson, former Turlock police chief; and Assistant Chief Chris Sutter of the Vancouver (Wash.) Police Department.

Jackson, Brower said, was the top choice for the three interview panels included in the selection process. Jackson resigned Aug. 11 as the Turlock police chief.

“I called to offer him the job and he had already accepted a position in Seaside, Calif.,” Brower said on Oct. 14. “The other two applicants were incredibly bright. I went back to the professional panel and the peace officers association and they said we should go back out for a second recruitment.”

Among the finalists in this round is Doug Lee, former chief deputy of the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office. Lee worked for the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office for more than 30 years.

Currently, Lee is the chief deputy of law enforcement and Homeland Security in the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. Included in duties is serving as commander of the State Threat Assessment Center.

In addition to the open house on Sept. 29, the first round of finalists were interviewed by three panels – a professional panel, a panel of police department employees and a citizen’s panel – as well as an interview with City Council. The professional panel included two police officers, two retired police officers, a representative of the (Placer County) District Attorney’s office, a human resources representative and Brower.

The Sept. 29 citizens’ panel was made up of one representative each from the Lincoln Area Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Lincoln Association; one representative of the Western Placer Unified School District; a homeless advocate, Pastor Eric Long of Vine Life Ministries and the Salt Mine; a representative of the town’s religious community, Nathan Oates of Emmaus Church Community; a representative of the business community at large, Mark Luster of Sierra Pacific Industries; and two citizens at large; Joann Hilton and Stephen Valdez.

Interim Police Chief Tim Harrigan was appointed and sworn in on Aug. 4.

Former Police Chief Rex Marks resigned July 1 following an independent investigation into concerns brought forward by the Lincoln Police Officers Association. Neither the concerns, nor the findings of the investigation, have been made public by Brower.

Although Marks received nearly $85,000 in severance payments – including three month’s salary and accrued vacation and sick leave as well as an additional three months of vacation and sick leave – his employment agreement with the city of Lincoln seems to disallow the payout.

Clause (f) in the employment agreement for Marks – under the heading Termination of Employment and Service – indicates the “Employee shall not be entitled to Severance if Employee voluntarily resigns.”

And, under clause (d), of the same section, the employment agreement indicates that “in the event the City Manager terminates Employee’s employment without cause, the City shall pay the Employee an amount equal to three (3) months aggregate salary and benefits (“Severance”). Severance shall be paid to Employee, less withholdings, in a lump sum upon termination.

Brower has repeatedly said he is not allowed by law to explain the contradiction between the employment agreement and the severance payments.