HOLMBERG: Why the city listed the chief-wanted ads after already hiring

Posted at 12:10 AM, Feb 21, 2013

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)--Earlier this week, the city of Richmond’s human resources department posted on its web page that it was looking for candidates for police chief. There was also ads for a police chief in the Richmond Times-Dispatch on Sunday and Wednesday.

Why hunt for a new chief when the mayor introduced his brand-new chief – former Deputy Chief Ray Tarasovic – last Wednesday?

Richmond Chief Administrative Officer Byron Marshall  told me these listings came after the hiring so as not to embarrass former police chief Bryan Norwood, and to allow the mayor to break the news that he had hired a new chief.

The city is required to list all un-classified jobs for at least one day, Marshall explained. If they had advertised the position, it would have confirmed strong rumors that the mayor was changing police chiefs. This gave Norwood an opportunity to look for jobs elsewhere while the mayor quietly searched for his new chief.

Marshall said it’s legal to post the job after the hire because Tarasovic was initially named provisional chief.

And Marshall emphasized that this in no way indicates that Tarasovic has a temp job while they look a the long-term chief. Tarasovic is the man, Marshall said.

We also confirmed today the Richmond police public information office will now officially fall under the umbrella of the mayor’s press secretary.

Tammy Hawley, the mayor’s press secretary, said the shift last week will harmonize the city’s brand, so all the Facebook, Twitter and other  websites and documents will be uniform – that the city will be speaking with one  voice, one brand.

She said her office won’t be directly managing statements released by police public information officers. Those folks in the field are professionals who know what to do, she said.

As far as I can tell, this is the first time the police department’s spokespeople will be answering to the mayor’s folks.

It’s definitely unusual, and something worth, watching given the mayor’s recent power shift at the PD.

That’s my take. Please leave yours here on