City choices for chief limited

Sunday Times Newspapers

TAYLOR — A final decision will likely be reached this week on who will replace retiring Police Chief Dale Tamsen.

Mayor Jeffrey Lamarand said the options are limited to two candidates — as dictated by union contract.

Lamarand is confident that either Cmdr. John Blair or Cmdr. Mary Sclabassi are more than capable of filling the position, but would have preferred being able to consider other choices.

“It does handcuff us,” Lamarand said. “It’s contractual that the promotion to chief has to come from within the command staff. These are the only two eligible. Any company or government agency should have the opportunity to evaluate any and all candidates.”

According to union contracts, when filling the chief’s position the candidate must hold a command rank — commander or lieutenant — and have served a minimum of two years at that level. Blair and Sclabassi are the only officers in the Taylor department who meet that criteria.

Last month Tamsen announced his decision to retire after more than 30 years in law enforcement, 25 of which were spent in Taylor including six as chief. Tamsen’s final day on the job will be Oct. 28, by which time Lamarand said he hoped to have appointed a replacement.

“We want to get someone in there so the chief has time to sit with them,” Lamarand said. “I’m sure he’s getting both of them up to speed.”

Lamarand said the first two interviews were held last week, and he expects a final sit-down meeting Monday before making a decision. Although limited in options, Lamarand said he had no objections to pinning the chief’s badge on either candidate.

“Both of these are qualified and capable,” Lamarand said. “Either will run the department efficiently.”

(James Mitchell can be reached at