Winnebago’s Personnel Committee was represented this time when two new candidates for police chief were interviewed.
After the city’s top choice to fill the position withdrew his application last November, City Council members decided to increase the hourly pay rate and repost the position on the Minnesota POST Board’s website.
Two persons submitted applications and were interviewed on Dec. 20 by a five-member committee that included Mayor Scott Robertson and Council member Jean Anderson, both members of the Personnel Committee.
“We had two real good candidates who have a lot of law enforcement experience,” says Robertson. “We’re doing background checks on both of them right now.”
Robertson says each interview lasted about 30 minutes and one was conducted via Zoom.
Also taking part in the interviews were Faribault County Chief Deputy Scott Adams; Blue Earth Police Chief Tom Fletcher; and City Administrator Judi Hynes. But, council members Calvin Howard and Paul Eisenmenger, and Sheriff Mike Gormley were not involved this time.
Eric Olson, who resigned as police chief last September and is currently the city’s Chief Law Enforcement Officer (CLEO), also did not participate in the interviews.
Olson agreed to serve as a CLEO until a police chief is hired and perform administrative duties as well as being involved in the hiring process for police chief and officers.
Robertson says two area law enforcement agencies are conducting the police chief background checks, not Olson.
“It’s (background checks) going to take awhile,” says Robertson. “We may hire an officer before a police chief. We are hoping to hire an officer this month.”
At last month’s meeting, council members were informed an applicant for one of two full-time officer positions was undergoing a background check.
For nearly a year, the city has relied on the Faribault County Sheriff’s Department and part-time officers to help provide police coverage and services.