Traverse City Record-Eagle

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December 7, 2013

Police chief woes continue

FRANKFORT — Frankfort city officials must renew their search for a police chief after their top pick dropped out.

Walter Wing told officials on Nov. 25 he couldn’t accept the position, and cited personal reasons. City council members in October chose Wing from four candidates to replace longtime Chief Keith Redder, who stepped down in the summer.

The resignation did not come as a surprise. City Clerk Kimberly Kidder said Wing sent a Nov. 1 email informing the city he planned to resign, but held off as officials unsuccessfully tried to help him find housing and arrange daycare.

“The timing was not good,” Kidder said.

Wing, who lives downstate and works for the Lake Odessa Police Department, met with Frankfort community members on Nov. 22 as the city’s new police chief. Kidder said Wing called city officials later and informed them he wouldn’t take the position.

Frankfort Superintendent Joshua Mills said he understood the city council will conduct another search after the holiday season.

“Obviously, the city council (was) confident in Mr. Wing’s credentials and ability to effectively manage the department,” Mills said. “I think the attributes Mr. Wing could have potentially brought to the job will be key as we look for a chief going forward.”

Frankfort currently has a two-person police force, including Officer Tim Cavric, who was rehired in 2012 after a years-long employment battle. Mills said officials reached a tentative agreement over Cavric’s back pay and expected a final agreement to be a “simultaneous action” with hiring a new chief.

Mayor Robert Johnson refused to answer questions about the police chief search.

“I have no further comments on it at this time,” he said.

The city’s first go-around in finding new police chief ended after closed-door interviews of several candidates appeared to have violated state open meetings laws. Officials then re-interviewed candidates in public and eventually chose Wing.

Interim Police Chief Robert Lozowski, who was one of four finalists for the vacant position, didn’t return a call for comment.

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