With recommendations from the San Francisco Police Commission, Mayor Ed Lee is in no rush to name a new police chief, says San Francisco Chronicle columnist C.W. Nevius. While Lee received a short list yesterday, the 75 candidates who applied didn’t come close to matching the caliber of candidates that emerged when a national search was conducted in 2009 and George Gascón was selected from Mesa, Az. It isn’t easy to find a candidate willing to serve at the whim of the mayor. The chief who is appointed by Lee now could easily lose his or her job when a new mayor takes over in January.
Lee said his interviews with candidates will be like depositions. And that’s great. But if he starts asking tough questions and doesn’t get the answers he wants, he can wait and get a do-over in January. With a new mayor, a national search could be launched. There is no question the field of candidates would be much stronger. And to improve the chances, Lee could push a charter amendment to give the police chief a five-year contract. Lee has an interim chief who is keeping things running. He should stick with Jeff Godown for now, Nevius says.