City manager names panel to assess Kingsport police chief candidates

Matthew Lane • Aug 23, 2013 at 2:30 PM

KINGSPORT — A five-member panel, charged with interviewing and assessing the top candidates in the running to be Kingsport’s next police chief, has been selected and is scheduled to meet early next month, City Manager John Campbell has confirmed.

When former Police Chief Gale Osborne announced his retirement earlier this year, Campbell said the city would be using an assessment center process in the hiring of a successor.

Campbell has said the assessment center is typically a panel of current and, sometimes, retired local police chiefs, ranking officers and other members of the community, who interview potential candidates and make a recommendation. Campbell has the ultimate say for the position.

Originally, Campbell said he wanted to select the committee members by early May with a police chief coming on board by mid-June. However, working through the annual budget process and getting confirmations from prospective members delayed finalizing the committee.

This week, Campbell said the assessment center has been determined. The five members include: Bristol Tennessee Police Chief Blaine Wade, Kingsport Fire Chief Craig Dye, Johnson City Assistant City Manager Charlie Stahl, former Kingsport Human Resources Director Barbara Duncan and Alderman Tom Segelhorst (human resources director for Domtar).

Campbell gave his reasoning behind the selections, saying Wade has served on several assessment centers in the past. Dye was chosen because of the close working relationship between police and fire in emergency situations. Duncan worked under at least three or four police chiefs during her tenure with the city and has been involved in selection processes previously, Campbell added.

Stahl, a former city manager of Elizabethton, worked under Campbell during his tenure as city manager of Johnson City. Segelhorst is serving on the committee at Mayor Dennis Phillips’ request.

Forty-six people from across the country have applied for Kingsport’s vacant police chief position, including the city’s two highest-ranking officers and eight current or former police chiefs at other agencies. Deputy Chief David Quillin — the current interim chief — and Deputy Chief Dale Phipps have applied for the position, along with Lt. Bud Hulsey, a 25-year veteran of the Kingsport Police Department who retired in June.

City staff narrowed the field down from 46 to 12 “A-list” candidates. From that list, five have been selected to be forwarded on to the assessment center.

Campbell said the assessment center is scheduled to meet on Sept. 10. On that day, the candidates will go through a number of exercises with the panel, including a comprehensive interview, a media-type scenario and a leaderless group exercise.

Campbell said he hopes to select a new police chief within a week following the assessment center process.

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