When St Augustine City Manager John Regan made his decision to replace retiring Chief of Police Loran Lueders, he interviewed five current members of the department. There was no outside search — a process that has been publically criticized within both city and county government in the past.
The “press release” distributed to Historic City News from the city’s public affairs department was very thin on details about the process Regan used. Twelve years ago under the former city manager, Lueders’ appointment drew criticism when Bill Harriss refused to include the public in the evaluation process.
According to personnel records obtained by Historic City News Monday, two “commanders” and three “sergeants” were interviewed. The city says those were the qualified applicants, although some members of the African-American community are questioning whether or not that is true.
The city disclosed five applicants:
- All interviewed are Caucasian.
- The longest tenured officer interviewed is female.
- None of the candidates are minorities.
The interview form used by City Manager Regan is little more than a ruled piece of paper. Its lack of structure is reflective of the results recorded — they aren’t very meaningful. Instead of noting measurable qualities unique to each candidate, Regan scratches out eight or nine lines of heavily cliché assessments that are more repetitive than significant.
Read each evaluation for yourself (if you can make out the hen scratch) and ask yourself if you don’t come away feeling you had just read the last evaluation.
Beyond the salary
Lueders, who turned 54-years-old Wednesday, is paid $104,852.70 in salary, he drives a city owned and insured vehicle, carries a city-owned cell phone and receives uniform cleaning.
All department commanders currently receive a car allowance. A cell phone is provided to officers’ ranked Corporal or higher. All police department personnel, sworn and non-sworn, are allowed to take their uniforms to Mariotti’s Laundry & Dry Cleaners at the city’s expense.