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The Norfolk branch of the NAACP says Norfolk's city manager abused his authority in hiring the city's next top cop and is calling for a whole new hiring process.

Norfolk announced earlier this week that Mark Talbot, who has led Hampton's police department since June 2021, would be Norfolk's next police chief, even though he hadn't initially applied for the Norfolk position. 

He was on the other side of the table, intervewing the city's three chosen finalists as part of Norfolk's search committee for a new chief.

City manager Chip Filer said he wasn't sold on the finalists after those interviews. But, he said he liked what he was hearing from Talbot and approached him about applying for the job.

Talbot applied after the finalists had been interviewed. Filer said his application was vetted by the search firm Norfolk hired just like all the other applicants, and that he interviewed Talbot and offered him the job.

There was one difference in the process for Talbot and the three finalists: While the finalists weren't identified, their responses to a series of questions were posted publicly on Norfolk's website for public review and feedback.

Filer told reporters Wednesday that Talbot had answered all those questions verbally in his interview with Filer, but his reponses weren't made public before the announcement of Talbot's hiring.

In a statement released Thursday afternoon, Norfolk's NAACP says Talbot's hiring was the result of "covert back door practices."

"A lack of ethics and transparency in this situation is unacceptable and will lead to negative consequences in the community," the statement says.

The NAACP accusses Filer of cutting the public out, misusing his authority and implementing biased practices to select Talbot for the job.

Filer said he wasn’t aware of the NAACP’s statement Thursday afternoon and declined to comment.