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Two Residents Asked To Participate In Interviews With Police Chief Search Firms

Oct 13, 2016 02:45PM ● By Bill Gilman

Dracut Town Manager Jim Duggan, in the foreground, has asked two residents to participate in the interviews of Police Chief search firms.

Two Dracut residents, not directly affiliated with town government or the Police Department, will be in the room, participating in the interviews of two firms vying for the contract to screen new Chief of Police candidates.
At its Oct. 11 meeting, Town Manager Jim Duggan told the Board of Selectman he had asked May Paquette and Mike Kuenzler to participate in the interviews as community representatives.
"We will also have a representative from the Superior Officers (Executive) Board and a representative from the Patrolmen's Union," said Duggan.
Duggan described Paquette and Kuenzler as longtime Dracut residents who were both active and respected members of the community.
Duggan is hoping to conduct interviews with the two firms, Public Safety Consultants, LLC and MMA Consulting Group, Inc., on Oct. 27 and make a decision on which to use shortly afterward.
Duggan told the selectmen that just two firms will be interviewed because only four or five companies in Massachusetts do these types of searches. He said he disqualified any of the firms that have done business with Dracut in the past, to eliminate any potential conflict of interest.
According to Duggan, the firm chosen will conduct an "assessment center" for the qualified candidates. This assessment center would be made up of a series of systematic, job related, real-life situations  to test the candidates in several areas of command, such as written communication, oral communication, supervision and interpersonal sensitivity. The candidates are evaluated and scored by the assessors or "raters."
The search firm would then rank the candidates and present Duggan with a certain number of finalists -- usually three. 
Dracut has been without a permanent police chief since Kevin Richardson retired earlier this year. Chief Neil Ouellette has served in an interim capacity since mid-July. Duggan is hoping to have a new chief named as soon as possible.
"Obviously, it's my message to the vendor, we'd like to expedite this as quickly as possible."

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