Johnson named HPD chief
HUNTINGTON — Mayor Steve Williams has removed the “interim” tag from Huntington Police Department Chief Jim Johnson, who has been heading the department since the resignation of Chief Skip Holbrook in April.
City Council still has to approve the move, and the title isn’t expected to stick.
Williams admitted after a City Council meeting Monday that he made the move quietly on Friday to avoid violation of the city charter, which states a city employee cannot hold an interim position for more than 60 days. Holbrook’s last day on the job before becoming the police chief in Columbia, S.C., was April 7.
The mayor sent a letter to Council members last week, and said he fully intends to continue the search for the city’s next chief.
Johnson, who was a member of the HPD for 29 years, has spent the past five years as the city’s constituent liaison in the mayor’s office.
“Jim has told me he has no interest in the job full time,” Williams said. “There is a mundane provision in the charter ... some administrations have played cat and mouse games with that. My thought was just to appoint Jim and continue the search.”
A search committee is expected to interview six candidates Tuesday. Williams has remained at arms-length during the search process, asking the committee to approach him when it has found three finalists equal to or better than Holbrook.
Follow reporter Ben Fields on Twitter @BenFieldsHD
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