Hiring of Froeber and now, Biermaier, appears to be two good examples.
When the Crookston City Council, at a Ways & Means Committee meeting earlier this summer, was on the verge of deciding to do an internal search initially in the hopes of finding a successor to resigning Police Chief Tim Motherway, Ward 2 Council Member Dana Johnson raised an issue.
When the city needs to hire a department head, Johnson wondered, doesn't policy require that an external search be conducted? Johnson stressed that she in no way meant to come across as critical of any Crookston Police Department employees who might apply to succeed Motherway, she just thought policy dictated that more than just an internal search be conducted.
Turns out, Johnson was told, no such policy is on the books. In the most recent example, she was told at the meeting, an internal search was conducted among Crookston Fire Department personnel in the hopes of finding a new chief when Richard Rock retired last year. That search produced three finalists, all veterans of the CFD, and Tim Froeber was selected from that trio.
The thinking here is, there might have been some amazing, rock star-like person out there somewhere who would have taken the local fire department to incredible new heights, if an external search for Rock's successor was conducted from the get-go. Or…maybe not. Maybe that person is already happily employed elsewhere and wouldn't have applied. Or maybe that person would have applied, knocked everyone's socks off, been hired…and subsequently created utter turmoil and an overall negative impact after being hired here.
The thing is, you never know. But when you look at our fire department, it was pretty apparent to even casual observers when Rock announced his retirement that there was more than one set of capable hands at the CFD to take the reins.
It's a similar story at the CPD. Granted, no police department is going to be universally adored. Far from it, probably...it's just the nature of the required work involved. But the CPD would appear to be on pretty strong footing, with a mix of experienced veterans and younger officers on board, and it also appeared, when Motherway announced he was leaving the helm, that there were capable personnel on the current staff that would make good chiefs. The hiring last week of Paul Biermaier would certainly seem to cement that notion.
Sometimes, whether it's a local government entity like a municipality, a school district, a mid-sized business or a huge corporation, when there's change at the top it's obvious to everyone that a new face from the outside, someone with no local history and no bias or other pre-conceived notions, needs to be sought. Sometimes, the atmosphere, for whatever combination of reasons, is simply too poisonous to not rock the boat instead of sticking with the status quo.
But, other times, in the case of these most recent hires of a new fire chief and police chief, there were good people already here to take over – if they were interested in doing so. Yes, looking within first was also the most convenient, quickest route, but that doesn't diminish the hires that were made.