Though the "help wanted" ad posted for the position of chief of San Francisco's Police Department was taken down this week, it's removal isn't, as some have speculated, because acting chief Toney Chaplin is definitely going to be permanently handed the role. Instead, officials say, the well-paid headhunters hired to find SF's top cop posted a draft for the role, not the properly-completed advertisement.
Rocklin-based executive search firm Ralph Andersen & Associates, which as previously reported were the folks who hooked Oakland up with a since-fired chief who oversaw the force that allegedly spent its free time sexually exploiting a minor, is being paid $49,000 to mount a national search to replace SF's also-booted Chief Greg Suhr.
Part of their contract involved placing advertisements for the gig, like the posting reported on by the Ex on Tuesday.
"Among the limited requirements, a bachelor’s degree and postgraduate studies are not required to become chief," the Ex said of the job listing.
"The limited requirements, in contrast to smaller cities that require a bachelor’s degree, make it possible for Interim Chief Toney Chaplin...to put his hat in the ring along with others in the department’s upper echelons, who have years of experience but little-to-no higher education."
“It just sounds like it’s really, really minimal in a city that has been for years a challenging police executive job,” a former police chief and criminal justice pundit told the Ex.
“I would expect, for a city like San Francisco, the candidate should have an advanced academic degree.”
Members of San Francisco's Police Commission who spoke to the Ex regarding the job ad and its "limited requirements" defended the posting, with Commission President Suzy Loftus saying that “I didn’t ask [the recruiters] what other cities normally require [relating to] education," and Commissioner Victor Hwang saying that he "expected the firm to survey other similar cities to see what they require" in terms of academic achievement.
But the next day, members of the commission changed their tune, then telling the Ex that the posted ad "was a first draft,." What follows is a worrisome level of confusion, as Commissioner Sonia Melara "who Loftus said was in charge of finalizing the edits to the advertisement, said she did not know when the ad would go public or that it was taken down," the Ex reports.
“The process hasn’t even started,” said Melara. “The commission will be having meetings with the community next month.”
Commission Vice President Julius Turman says that "he doesn’t know who told the firm to publish the ad," which the Ex notes is "a call only the commission can make." Efforts to reach Ralph Andersen & Associates for comment were unsuccessful as of publication time.
Though Turman says that the ad will be re-posted after a couple new edits ("including more details about the challenges and reforms underway") are added to it, a press release sent by the San Francisco Police Department on the commission's behalf suggests that they still aren't sure who they're looking for.
According to the release, the commission will present "internet surveys to obtain input from both community members (“Community Input Survey”) and Police Department members, both sworn and civilian (“Department Survey”)" and has established an email address ([email protected]) "as a method of receiving additional input beyond the Internet survey." (You can take the survey right here, if you want!)
In addition, "Five community meetings will be held during the last three weeks of August at various locations throughout the City and County of San Francisco to obtain the characteristics and qualities the community is looking for in the next Chief of Police," they write, all in an effort to "widely encourage the community and Department participation and ensure transparency in the evaluation of attributes and characteristics of candidates for the Chief of Police position." A wish list, one might think, that should be nailed down before the job is posted!
The chief position will pay $316,732 with benefits — a jump from Suhr's base pay of $307,450, which made him the highest-paid police chief in the US from 2012 to at least 2014. According to the since-removed posting, the Chief will not be required to live in SF — even more good news, perhaps, for Chaplin, who does not live in San Francisco.
Or maybe not? For as reported earlier today, Chaplin has "been too busy and hasn't had time to consider whether he wants the permanent job as chief." Maybe he can't wait for August 31 — the application closing date, according to the since-removed job posting — to come and for all this to be placed on someone else's shoulders.
Previously: Firm That Recruited Ousted Oakland Police Chief Charging SF $49K To Find New SFPD Chief
Acting SFPD Chief Toney Chaplin Talks About His First 60 Days, And Whether He Wants The Permanent Job