Mayor Will Follow The Law In The Search For New Police Chief

Dover  – Mayor Robin Christiansen, of Dover, has a message for his citizens, regarding the search for a new Dover Police Chief. Christiansen said “I am doing what is right, for the right reason.”

Christiansen’s message was in response to an email that was sent to members of the city council by Fourth District Councilman Roy Sudler Jr., last week. Sudler’s email alleges that the mayor has a conflict of interest, regarding the search for a new chief.

Mayor Christiansen
Mayor Christiansen

In his e-mail, Sudler said that Christiansen was “angry” about a press conference Sudler and a city employee, Rita Mishoe Paige held. Paige and Sudler, who are both African American, are pushing for the city to name Deputy Chief Major Marvin Mailey as the new police chief.

“We want to see Marvin Mailey as the first African-American police chief for the city of Dover,” Paige said at the January press conference.

At the time Sudler said that he understood that there was a new city ordinance, but that he had concerns about it.  “I’m more or less worried about the true intent of the search,” he said. “What is the true intent? Is it true intent to bypass previous policies and procedures in promoting someone to a higher rank?”

“It gives a flavor that there’s something more going on. I’m not saying it is, but I don’t like it.” Sudler voted for the new ordinance in 2015.

At the time Mayor Christiansen said “ I am very upset that there are external forces who are unduly trying to demand, intimidate, lobbying, race baiting and bullying for certain actions to occur regarding this selection of the next police chief of the Dover Police Department, Council clearly has set a course of action – one of transparency and honesty across the board to select a candidate bringing the highest qualifications to the job.

Councilman Roy Sudler, Jr
Councilman Roy Sudler, Jr

On June 8, 2015 the following council members unanimously voted in favor of the ordinance change; Councilman David Anderson, Councilman Roy Sudler Jr., Councilman Fred Neil, Councilman Brian Lewis, Councilman Scott Cole, Councilman Jim Hosfelt, Councilman Bill Hare, Councilman Jim Hutchison and Council President Tim Slavin.”

“There are individuals who are trying to “demand” that I do not follow the law. They want to demand that I make rash decisions, to go outside the process, and appoint their choice of individuals to the position without due process. All that will do is set us (City of Dover) up for additional potential litigation. Some of the same people who want to circumvent the ordinance are some of the same who voted in favor of it in June 2015.” Christiansen responded when asked to clarify his January comment.

While the initial press conference and the latest e-mail to the council may have been cleaver headline grabbers, on Sudler’s part, it doesn’t appear that the Mayor is backing down.  The Mayor says he’s sticking to the law.

I made a commitment to everyone I represent to make sure that I stay above any nonsense and do what is best for them and for all in our fine city. I still believe in Dover and I believe Dover still believes in me. To not follow through with the established process would be in violation.

Sometimes we have to put forth the extra effort and do the work that is required to complete the task, instead of taking the easy road. It would have been very easy to say Let’s forget the ordinance, let’s forget forming a committee, let’s just throw all that extra effort and just promote from within.

I am doing what is right, for the right reason. Let it be known that I take this responsibility very seriously on behalf of the citizens of this city.

The Mayor is hoping that individuals will “stop the demands and follow the established process” saying

If I can just get everyone to slow down, stop the demands and follow the established process I believe we will get the best candidate – One who will continue leading our police department forward.

Who will that candidate be? I cannot answer that. I can say that we need to hire on ability, on their merit, on their experience and select the best overall. I know we have some very qualified candidates in house and I am sure there are some very qualified people from outside our organization. I cannot, nor can anyone else say that someone is already the best candidate since we haven’t even started the interview process. We should never hire someone for any other reason, other than they are THE best candidate – period.”

The Police Chief Selection Committee chose the Mayor, without objection, to lead the search for the new police chief at their meeting on February 01, 2017.

Image Credits: City Of Dover