The selection of a new police chief is still months away, according to Ashland officials.

The Ashland Board of City Commissioners met in a special session Thursday to discuss applicants and a strategy to narrow the list and begin interviews.

Ashland Mayor Steve Gilmore said members agreed at the meeting on “a short list” of fewer than 10 applicants. Initial interviews will begin shortly, with the more lengthy in-person interviews and background checks beginning after that, possibly in late February, he said.

“This is our initial group. We feel strongly we could find a chief in this group,” Gilmore said.

He added that none of the 35 applicants have been eliminated at this point.

“We’re trying to map out how we want to do this and be the most effective we can be in selecting the very best person for this position,” Gilmore said.

Newly seated Commissioner Paula Hogsten said she was pleased with the progress the commission made. She cited the work the citizens panel did as providing a strong starting point.

“I think they gave us a valuable list. I think their input was very important and I think we built on that,” she said. “I think the citizens committee was invaluable and I hope to see more of that as we progress in the city because they are our boss.”

City Manager Randy Robertson said he, too, was pleased with the progress and that the citizens panel’s recommendations were able to provide valuable input.

“I was very pleased at the leadership. We made some decisions to move forward today. I was likewise equally pleased that they are using the framework that the citizens panel has given them,” he said. “I think we’re on course and we have some good proposed timelines ... and we’re moving forward with all due diligence, but in a very methodical manner.”

Officials said they expect to appoint the chief by late spring.

CARRIE KIRSCHNER can be reached at ckirschner@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2653.

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