Janesville72.5°

Interim police chief lays out plan to fill Milton post

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Stacy Vogel
April 16, 2008
— Interim police Chief Bob Roberts is finding a common theme as he talks to Milton residents about what they want in a police chief, he said.

“The consistent theme I’m hearing from the community is communication, cooperation and a sense of community,” he said. “They want to protect that sense of small-town community.”


Roberts, too, believes communication is key to a successful police department, he said.


“That’s what you’ll see from me,” he said. “I’m a huge advocate for open records and open communication.”


Roberts demonstrated his commitment to openness by laying out a timeline for recruitment of a new chief for the Milton City Council on Tuesday. He took the council through each step of the recruitment process, from advertising to background check.


Advertisements for the chief position will start appearing this week in professional publications and Web sites, Roberts said. The council approved Roberts’ recommended advertisement Tuesday.


Roberts hopes the city can hire a permanent chief by the end of July and listed a target start date of Aug. 18 in his timeline. Although the city hired Roberts through July 31, he will stay on until the permanent chief is hired, he said.


The council also approved Roberts’s recommended salary range for the new chief, $54,000 to $72,000.


City Administrator Todd Schmidt said chiefs in nearby departments make salaries at both ends of the range. Former Chief Tom Gilland was making $65,000 a year when he retired, City Clerk/Treasurer Nancy Zastrow said.


As Roberts waits for the applications to roll in, he’s busy with an organizational review of the police department. So far, he’s been reviewing documents such as crime reports, policy books and personnel records, he said. He has also been interviewing officers, community leaders and residents about the department.


“There’s good officers committed to the community,” he said. “I’m pleased with what I see.”


Roberts is serving the department part time until he finishes his teaching obligations at UW-Platteville. He has been in Milton mostly on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Starting mid-May, he will be in town Monday through Friday, he said.


CHIEF TIMELINE

Interim Chief Bob Roberts laid out the following timeline for choosing a permanent chief for the Milton Police Department:


-- April 1 to 23: Establishing criteria for the position. Interview city officials, staff and other stakeholders to learn about the duties and expectations of the chief.


- April 23 to June 20: Advertising and screening. Conduct a professional search for candidates using local, regional and national networks. Place announcements in appropriate publications and on the Internet.


-- June 20 to 25: Initial screening. Process all applications and screen all applicants, matching their credentials to the criteria.


-- June 25 to July 1: Phone interviews.


-- Week of July 7: Assessments. Create a list of strengths and weaknesses for each applicant.


-- Week of July 21: Police commission interviews. The police commission will interview candidates to create a list of finalists. Names of finalists will be publicly released July 24.


-- July 28: Contingent offer issued to selected candidate.


-- Week of July 28: Background check.


-- August 18: Target start date for new police chief.


OTHER BUSINESS

Other actions taken by the Milton City Council on Tuesday include:


-- Election of Sharon Rozelle as council president


-- Approval of a first reading of a neighborhood electric vehicle ordinance. The ordinance, similar to ones recently passed in Janesville, Edgerton and other communities, would allow electric vehicles that travel between 20 and 35 mph on roads with speed limits of 35 mph or less.


-- Changing the meeting schedule. The city council decided in December to reduce its monthly meetings from two to one on a trial basis. Tuesday, it decided to return to its twice-monthly schedule.


The council will once again meet at 7:30 p.m. the first and third Tuesdays of the month. Public works committee meetings will take place at 6 p.m. the first Tuesday of the month, and personnel and finance committee meetings will take place at 6 p.m. the third Tuesday of the month.



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