GREEN BAY - After thirty years on the force, Tom Molitor temporarily made it to the top last July. The retired assistant police chief came back to step in for outgoing chief Jim Arts.
Now Molitor has the chance to take over the post permanently, but there's a hitch. City ordinance requires all department heads to live within the city's boundaries.
"We felt that department heads, if you're a department head, you should be as close to the flame as possible," said Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt.
Molitor resides about 20 miles outside of Green Bay in Abrams, and said at Tuesday night's personnel committee meeting he won't move.
"I purchased, in 2005, this place where I live now. And I put a lot of blood and sweat into it, and the market is soft. I don't know that I could turn it over. I just don't think the juice would be worth the squeeze," said Molitor.
Molitor said he made that clear to the Police and Fire Commission during his first interview. He added the PFC suggested he move forward and there would be talks of a waiver later. However, the personnel committee voted 3 to 1 Tuesday night against granting a waiver.
"When I think about a position like police chief, where you are in command of a 365 day, 24/7, rapid response operation, that position, perhaps more than any of the others, should be filled with a person that wants to live here in our community and be part of the community," said alderman Tom Sladek who voted against granting the waiver.
The PFC's chair says it is up to Molitor to meet the conditions outlined in the job offer.
"When we make our decision, our decision is based on the application and the interview process and deciding who's the most qualified candidate for the role. Then it becomes up to the candidate to meet those remaining hiring qualifications," said Rod Goldhahn, Police and Fire Commission chair.
Mayor Schmitt says he will lobby city council members to approve an exemption for Molitor. If that happens, it would be the first time a department head would receive a waiver.
"He has a very unique lifestyle up there, kids, family, it's not, it's 20 minutes and with lights and siren he can be here in 10. He's here before everyone, and stays late, so we need to make this exception," said Schmitt.
The matter is scheduled to go before the full city council next month. Fifty percent of the council must vote to approve the waiver for it to pass.
A police department spokesperson said Molitor was not available for an interview Wednesday due to prior commitments.
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