Names on Police Chief Panel Leaked
WOODBRIDGE, Va. — With the names of the interview panel leaked, the man who pushed for their release reacts to the news.
The panel’s membership has not been publicly named. According to a county official familiar with the search, it consists of Peacor, two deputy county executives, Fire and Rescue Chief Kevin McGee, Commonwealth’s Attorney Paul B. Ebert (D), Sheriff Glendell Hill (R) and county residents Donna Widawski and W. Ralph Basham. The official who provided the list requested anonymity because supervisors have not made it public.
Of the two private citizens on the panel, Basham is a consultant with a 38-year law enforcement background, and Widawski has placed herself in the public eye on the issue of immigration, has served the U.S. Secret Service and Gainesville District Supervisor Peter Candland as his chief of staff until she was let go.
Prince William County officials did not release the names of those on the panel because they feared the names, if made public, would prompt others in the community to approach panel members and potentially sway their decisions. Voluntary interview panels are commonplace when the Prince William County Government selects candidates to fill jobs, said spokesman Jason Grant.
Al Alborn, a county resident and blogger, pushed for the release of these names. He asked his elected county supervisor, the county’s attorney, and then filed several Freedom of Information Act requests in hopes to get the names made public. He commented on his blog he’s happy the names were released but wonders why elected officials chose to keep them secret, and notes he’s still awaiting a response for his FOIA request.
The interview panel is expected to present a list of qualified, vetted candidates to the governing body who will ultimately decide who will serve as the county’s next police chief: the Prince William County Board of Supervisors. A decision on a new chief is expected early next year.