Councilman Questions Choice of External Interim Chief

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Within half-a-year, Bryan PD will go through three different chiefs. Mike Strope's last day was this week, and Interim Chief Bobby Whitmire has stepped in. Come this summer, a permanent replacement will likely be in place.

But at least one councilmember in Bryan isn't sure about the city's replacement route.

For Whitmire, it's a six-month pause on his retirement from law enforcement as he takes Bryan's interim police chief spot.

"I think you've got a large group of dedicated men and women, both civilian and sworn staff, that really strive to do the best for the city," the chief said.

Ideally, the now-former chief, Strope, would have been able to stay on until his replacement could be found instead of heading off to do consulting work.

"But that doesn't always work out," Deputy City Manager Hugh Walker pointed out. "We don't live in an ideal world, but ideally, that probably would have been the best case scenario for us."

So the scenario now is the former Waxahachie chief taking Bryan's reigns. But at the last Bryan city council meeting, Councilmember Mike Southerland raised concerns with the city contracting for up to $100,000 with a state firm when they instead could have temporarily promoted one of three assistant chiefs.

"It just seems like we could save some money there and not necessarily spend it because we've got a lot of experienced people in our department that would be willing and like to step up to the challenge," Southerland said during Tuesday's meeting.

"I think you could develop some problems there because if that person doesn't get it, then he has to step down to his prior position, and sometimes there are hard feelings, even over a six-month period," Whitmire said.

Walker added, "Another reason is, you still have work that has to be done at all levels, and so if you appoint one of the assistant chiefs as the chief, that means somebody else has to pick up that assistant chief role."

Whitmire's contract with the city includes temporary housing, as well as roundtrip mileage for two trips home.

City officials say they would obviously have saved money in temporarily promoting an assistant chief, but that the compensation for Chief Whitmire is no more than what they would have been paying Mike Strope.