City auditor weighs in on Norfolk police chief hiring
Norfolk city auditor Tammie Dantzler said city leaders should consider changing how Norfolk hires some key positions after allegations that the hiring of a new police chief wasn't an open process.
Dantzler wrote in a memo to Mayor Kenny Alexander and city council that current city law says the city manager can hire positions like the police chief without council approval, but the same isn’t true of other high-level jobs.
She suggested that the council change the rules to ensure high profile city positions — ones with "significant community engagement" — be approved by the council.
City Manager Chip Filer hired Mark Talbot to be Norfolk’s new police chief after Interim Chief Michael Goldsmith announced his retirement earlier this month.
Talbot, who was working as the chief in Hampton, wasn’t one of the three finalists interviewing for the Norfolk position.
But he was on the search team and Filer said he liked what he heard from Talbot during interviews. Filer said he approached Talbot separately, after the interviews with the finalists, and asked him to apply.
Norfolk NAACP released a statement earlier this month questioning the process, saying Talbot’s hiring undermined a process that was supposed to include some public input.
"A lack of ethics and transparency in this situation is unacceptable and will lead to negative consequences in the community," the statement said.
Talbot is expected to start as Norfolk’s top cop by the end of the month.