Cary hires search firm to conduct police chief search

CARY – Village Board members decided to hire REM Management Services for $11,000 to help conduct the search for a new police chief.

REM will help recruit, screen and process candidates. The village will determine and set qualifications required for applicants.

REM will screen and examine applications to determine an initial group of semifinalists, who would then answer written questionnaires to determine four to five finalists.

The finalists would then go through an assessment center. It would include evaluations in group interactions, structured interviews, written problem exercises, public speaking exercises and one-on-one interviews.

The professional services company also will contact references, previous employers, perform background checks, review academic credentials provided by the candidate and provide a financial report on the final candidate.

However, some board members disagreed with the hiring, hoping to do a targeted search. Trustees Karen Lukasik and Bob Bragg voted against hiring REM.

Lukasik said board members previously discussed in closed session that there would be a search with a smaller pool of candidates, including internal candidates, "and if that didn't work out, we would go bigger."

However, after additional research, village staff presented a proposal from REM.

The village was already planning to have a professional firm handle background checks and assessment of final candidates. REM would have charged $5,000 for just conducting the assessment center.

Trustee Bruce Kaplan said paying $11,000 for REM to handle the process was an "attractive number."

"For only $11,000 to do the whole thing for us caused me to think, 'We could spend the time, we could do this ourselves, but should we do that?' " Kaplan said.

Mayor Mark Kownick said hiring the firm will provide "a fair, unbiased" search.

Since former chief Steven Casstevens left in June, the village has saved $10,000 to $11,000 a month, as a permanent replacement has yet to be named.

Recent executive searches in the Chicago area by private firms have cost between $16,000 and $19,000, according to village documents.

Larry Mulcrone of REM said he expects a new police chief to be in place by Jan. 1.