By Donald Wittkowski
Sea Isle City is looking for a new police chief to replace the man who has held the job for the past 10 years.
Thomas D’Intino, a 28-year veteran of the police department who worked his way through the ranks to become chief in 2008, is retiring effective Jan 31.
The appointment of a new police chief will be done by Mayor Leonard Desiderio with the consent of the five-member City Council.
“It’s the mayor’s office that will recommend to Council someone for chief, and Council will approve or not,” Council President Mary Tighe said.
Tighe and other city officials briefly discussed D’Intino’s retirement during Tuesday’s Council meeting. In preparation for D’Intino’s departure, Capt. Anthony Garreffi has been named acting police chief.
City Solicitor Paul Baldini expressed confidence that Sea Isle should have no trouble selecting a permanent chief from among the police department’s high-ranking officers. He explained that a New Jersey statute “directs” municipalities to look within their own departments when considering the appointment of a police chief.
“We’re very, very fortunate in Sea Isle to have qualified applicants in Sea Isle to assume the chief’s job,” Baldini said.
Baldini made his comments in response to questions from a former law enforcement official about the process the city would follow in selecting a new chief.
In public remarks, Harry McCann, a Sea Isle resident who spent 37 years in law enforcement in Pennsylvania before retiring, urged City Council to consider candidates from outside the police department as well as internal applicants.
“You want to have the most qualified person. Why wouldn’t you want the most qualified person?” McCann said in an interview after the Council meeting.
Before retiring to his home in Sea Isle, McCann served as director of police training in Bucks County, Pa. His law enforcement background also included working with the U.S. Justice Department and with the Pennsylvania State Board of Probation and Parole.
Stressing that the police department controls a large chunk of the city’s budget and workforce, McCann said Sea Isle must make every effort to appoint the most qualified chief. He suggested the possibility of using an independent, outside consultant to help the city with the search.
“Make it as transparent as possible,” McCann said of the hiring process.
In other business Tuesday, Council praised the Public Works Department and city’s emergency crews for helping Sea Isle to quickly recover from the Jan. 4 blizzard that pummeled parts of the Jersey Shore with more than a foot of snow.
“It was incredible,” Tighe said of the overall job done by city workers.
Tighe noted that the Public Works Department put in “lots and lots of overtime” clearing the streets of snow.
Councilman William Kehner said city crews were able to keep on top of the storm using the equipment they had in-house, instead of relying on outside contractors to plow the streets.
“What a job they did with the equipment they had,” Kehner said.