The replacement for retiring Hollywood Police Chief Chad Wagner may come from within the ranks.
Hollywood City Manager Cathy Swanson-Rivenbark said Tuesday she will look around the department to see who could step up to the top post after Wagner retires at the end of January.
In a memo addressed to the mayor and city commissioner, Swanson-Rivenbark said Frank Fernandez, the assistant city manager who oversees public safety, will lead the search and pass recommendations on her.
Fernandez will be assisted by outside top police officials.
“We feel it’s very important to interview and promote within,” Swanson-Rivenbark said.
But she has not ruled out a nationwide search.
“It is absolutely crucial that I hire the right person for the job,” she said.
Wagner, who has been with the police department for 30 years, has to retire at the end of January because time is up on his Deferred Retirement Option Plan - or DROP.
The plan allowed public servants to “retire” while still working and earning a salary. (The program is no longer an option in Hollywood).
Police Union President Jeff Marano said Tuesday that the city should be seeking advice from Wagner on his replacement, not Fernandez, who was hired in August.
Fernandez retired from the Miami Police Department in 2010 after 25 years.
“We question Frank Fernandez’ participation in the process because he has only been here about 90 days,” Marano said.
While the commission does not get a vote on who is hired as the next chief, Mayor Peter Bober said Tuesday he supports Swanson-Rivenbark’s decision.
“I think it would be a mistake to not see what talent we have internally,” Bober said.
The city can always expand the search, he said.
“We are not foreclosing on the option to a nationwide search.”