Randall Woodfin begins search for new Birmingham police chief

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During Tuesday’s city council meeting Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin announced a national search for a new police chief and several new department heads.

Siena Consulting will be conducting the the search, which will cost the city $124,000. The company will find candidates for the directors of human resources, finance, information management services and public works positions.

Woodfin said the search for a new police chief will be “overly open” and that the public will be kept up to date on the status of the search. He doesn’t know if finalists for the position will be made public.

During the same meeting Tuesday, Woodfin announced his entrance into a contract with Crowe Horwath LLP and PGV Advisors. They will collaborate with the city on a performance appraisal of operations to determine if city departments are staffed and funded at the correct levels. The following departments will be assessed: finance, community development, human resources, Information Management Services, police, municipal court, law, public works and planning, engineering and permits.

The costs associated with this contract were not immediately released.

The search for a new police chief comes in the wake of former police Chief A.C. Roper stepping down from his post on November 29, the day after Woodfin took office. Roper served as police chief for 10 years. Woodfin said Roper’s departure will allow the city the freedom to “take a fresh look at solutions to address one of the most pressing issues facing our city, which we all know is crime.”

In his State of the City address given Tuesday afternoon, Woodfin stated his administration will “be working in every area of the city to reduce crime, eliminate blight and increase the safety and security of all citizens.”

An abundance of retirement announcements and resignations have followed Woodfin’s induction.

Human resources director for the city, Peggy Polk, also announced her retirement on Nov. 29. Stephen Fancher, director of public works retired from his post. Information Management Services director Srikanth Karra announced he is leaving his post for another opportunity. Meanwhile Tom Barnett notified the mayor’s office of his retirement from the Finance director position on Tuesday.

When Woodfin took office, both the director of community development and director of economic development were dismissed from their positions which have since been filled by their deputy department heads. Since taking office he has reduced the number of Bell appointees from 95 to 48.

Woodfin said internal candidates would also be considered in the national search.

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