If you read the newspaper Wednesday morning, you might have been a little confused. The City of Richmond posted a job ad for the chief of police position. This comes about a week after Mayor Dwight Jones announced the hiring of his choice for chief.
What the ad means, depends on who you ask. When NBC12 brought the question to the mayor's press secretary, she said the job posting is simply a requirement in order to comply with city code, but others say there could be more to it if you read between the lines.
With much anticipation and a lot of press coverage, Mayor Jones chose Ray Tarasovic as Richmond's new top cop.
"He's a seasoned officer and I think he's uniquely prepared for the task at hand and has agreed to come back out of retirement," Jones said last Tuesday.
Both men have told anyone who's asked, this is not an interim post.
"That has not been our discussion," Tarasovic told reporters this Tuesday. "The mayor asked me to be his chief of police. I will be his chief of police as long as he needs me and that's the truth."
But the job ad in Wednesday's business section says the city is seeking to fill the following positions and lists "Chief of Police." Under the "apply by" slot it says "continuous."
A search of the city's online human resources site Wednesday morning revealed the chief of police posting next to a bright red, all caps "new" with an exclamation point. The issue date is Sunday.
The timing has some wondering if this means Tarasovic will not be here for the long run or the entirety of Jones' second term.
City Council President Charles Samuels says it raises questions.
"Was this something that was meant to indicate a will of the administration about the length of someone's stay or was this a situation where this was a technical following of the law but should have been done differently," he asked.
The mayor's Press Secretary Tammy Hawley responded to our inquiry by email: "The position is an unclassified position. We can select whomever we want. The posting is a required posting under Section 2.1111 of the City Code. The ad is a required posting. That's all."
That section only requires the job be advertised in at least one newspaper, but does not specify a timeline or even that the ad be posted before someone is hired.
Several employment attorneys tell NBC12, generally speaking there is no federal or state requirement to post a job before you hire someone.
Hawley says the "matter is perfunctory at this point."
Shortly after we asked about the job ad, the posting disappeared from the city's website and a search of openings for "chief of police" now yields no results.
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