SFPD chief job listing with few details taken down days after posting

An online job listing for San Francisco’s next police chief has been removed after a San Francisco Examiner story earlier this week highlighted concerns about the ad’s lack of detail.

The firm hired to lead the search for the new chief, Ralph Andersen & Associates, posted the job brochure on its website last week along with other police chief positions they have been hired to help fill.

Among the limited requirements — at least a decade of police experience — a bachelor’s degree and postgraduate studies are not required to become chief. They are, however, “highly desirable,” according to the brochure. The job description, unlike other police chief jobs listed, had little to say about the department’s challenges, such as recent scandals or reform efforts.

Interim Chief Toney Chaplin has led the department following former Chief Greg Suhr’s resignation in May after the latest fatal police shooting.

The job’s short-lived listing was taken down so the Police Commission, who is in charge of picking the finalists, can make changes to the draft document.

“We decided we wanted to add some changes to it,” said Commission Vice President Julius Turman, whose edits prompted the advertisement’s removal. “It was a first draft.”

Commission President Suzy Loftus and Commissioner Victor Hwang never said the ad was a draft when they spoke with the Examiner earlier this week. In fact, Hwang said the ad’s lack of detail was intentional since it was an enticement.

For her part, Loftus said the ad didn’t include details about the department’s challenges because any candidate worthy of the job should already know about such issues.

Still, it remains unclear how the draft document got posted in the first place.

The hiring firm did not return a call for comment.

Turman, delegated to speak on the issue because Loftus was unavailable Wednesday, said the process is ongoing and many people have already sent in comments about what was posted.

But Turman did not say who gave the firm the green light to post the ad in the first place — a call only the commission can make — even though Turman himself prompted its removal.

“It wasn’t an accident,” said Turman about the ad’s posting and subsequent removal. “When I put in comments, I assume that they took it down.”

Sometime this week, in place of the now-removed “draft” advertisement, a short message from the firm appeared.

“You have selected a recently awarded search assignment,” begins the message. “Ralph Andersen & Associates search professionals are currently working with this client to develop a customized search profile for the position. When this process is complete, and the search criteria approved by the client, we will post that information here.”

While Turman said he doesn’t know who told the firm to publish the ad or when the revised version of the ad will go up, he did say he expects it to go back up after his changes — including more details about the challenges and reforms underway — have been made.

Still, he added, it won’t be public until the commission posts it on its website.

Meanwhile, Commissioner Sonia Melara, who Loftus said was in charge of finalizing the edits to the advertisement, said she did not know when the ad would go public or that it was taken down.

“I do not know anything about that being removed,” Melara said. “I was never told specific dates when it would be made public.”

The commission plans to hold a series of public hearings in the next month to get input on the new chief, and this week sent out an anonymous questionnaire on the subject.

“The process hasn’t even started,” said Melara. “The commision will be having meetings with the community next month.”

The window for applicants closes Aug. 31, according to the now defunct advertisement.


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