THE LIST IS NOW DOWN TO EIGHT

Rochester police chief withdraws his name from consideration for Albany job

JORDAN CARLEO-EVANGELIST STAFF WRITER
Section: Nation - -,  Page: A4

Date: Saturday, June 8, 2013

ALBANY -- Less than 24 hours after the list of nine candidates to be the city's next police chief was made public, one of the most highly regarded -- Rochester Police Chief David T. Moore -- pulled out of consideration Tuesday.


Moore's sudden withdrawal startled the members of the city task force charged with vetting the resumes because Moore and the eight others had been given a chance Monday evening to bow out and keep their applications secret -- an opportunity he did not take.


Assistant Corporation Counsel Danielle Neroni, the city attorney assigned to the task force, said she spoke to Moore personally and said he "was given an opportunity to withdraw and it would remain confidential, if that's what he desired."


"He said nothing whatsoever," Neroni said.


But in interviews with Rochester-area media Tuesday, Moore said he never planned leave the western New York department he's led for four years, and a police spokesman said that the chief had publicly stated two weeks ago "that he was committed to Rochester."


"My wife and I are committed, we're vested in the community, and it was never our intention to leave in the first place," Moore told the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle in a video posted on the newspaper's Web site. "It was a good time for me to put my name out there to just get a feel for how marketable I was, quite frankly."


Told of Moore's statements, Larry Rosen, a retired county judge and chairman of the search task force, said, "In my opinion, ethically, he would have been obligated to let us in on that decision."


Others were privately less charitable, speculating that Moore had simply used Albany as leverage with his boss, Rochester Mayor Robert Duffy.


Moore was one of at least three African-American candidates among the nine, and his departure from the pool was greeted with regret by other members of the task force.


The panel's eight members met Monday night to compare their respective scores for the 48 resumes that came in.


Common Council President Carolyn McLaughlin called him a "top candidate" and said Moore was among the highest, if not the highest, scorer on a scale of 1 to 5.


"When we came back together, we saw that we all agreed pretty consistently on him," she said.


McLaughlin, Rosen and others stressed that eight other highly qualified candidates remain -- including Albany's Deputy Police Chief Steven Krokoff and John F. Pikus, special agent in charge of the FBI's Albany Division.


The others who will be interviewed are Edward J. Welch, head of security programs for the World Trade Center; former Buffalo Police Commissioner H. McCarthy Gipson; former Assistant Deputy State Police Superintendant James I. Schepperly; former Detroit Deputy Police Chief Jamie S. Fields; former Gaithersburg, Md., Police Chief John A. King; and Saginaw, Mich., Police Chief Gerald Cliff.


"We had nine terrific finalists, now we have eight terrific finalists," Rosen said.


Task force member Alice Green, who is executive director of the Center for Law & Justice, said she raised concerns Monday night about releasing the names of the candidates, fearing it might be a breach of confidentiality and chase some of them away.


"My position was that the names should not be released until after the interviews and they were finalists," Green said, stressing, however, that she did not know whether that had anything to do with Moore's departure. "I wanted to make sure it wouldn't affect who stayed in the race."


"I don't know why Moore took his name out of the running, but I'm very disappointed that he did," Green said.


Councilman Daniel Herring, a fellow task force member, recalled it differently. He said the panel decided it could not promise to shield the identities of the candidates once they would be coming to town for interviews.


"The idea going forward, especially from my point of view, was that once you have interviews, I don't think you can guarantee anonymity anymore," Herring said. "It's a practical question, it's not theoretical anymore."


Those interviews are scheduled to begin March 11 and conclude March 23, with the task force scheduled to meet two days later to decide which names to forward to Mayor Jerry Jennings.


Jennings will then submit his choice to the Common Council for confirmation.


Of the nine originally selected for interviews, seven -- including Moore -- were from outside the region.


Some in the community had urged the task force to look outside the region and conduct a truly national search.


Rosen said the results show that search was far-reaching.


Most of the applicants, he has said, were not from the area, a fact also reflected in the nine selected for interviews.


"That it turned out that way -- was it happen-stance or a concerted effort by people as they were rating (the resumes) -- I'm not really sure," McLaughlin said.


Jordan Carleo-Evangelist can be reached at 454-5445 or by e-mail at jcarleo-evangelist@timesunion.com.


BOX:


Meeting tonight


The public is invited tonight to tell members of the chief search task force what they want the panel to ask the eight candidates.


The meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m at Albany Housing Authority Administrative Building at 200 S. Pearl St.


A second meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. March 4 at the Albany Community Development Agency building at 200 Henry Johnson Blvd.