New Albany News

Jones on trial run as city's chief of police

Promotion of longtime sergeant will be evaluated after six months


New Albany Police Sgt. Greg Jones, who became interim police chief when Mark Chaney retired two weeks ago, said he might not have applied to be chief of police anywhere else but New Albany.

"It wasn't so much about attaining a certain rank," Jones said. "I was interested in the chief's position more specifically (at) this agency.

"It's an investment in the community. Being chief here would mean a lot to me."

City spokesman Scott McAfee said Jones will serve in the interim role for six months. City officials then will decide to hire him or advertise for candidates.

"That will give (City Manager) Joseph (Stefanov) and (Deputy City Manager) Debra (Mecozzi) the opportunity to evaluate him and his skills as interim chief," McAfee said. "It will also give Greg the chance to see if he thinks this is really what he wants to do. It's a good trial period both ways."

Jones is originally from Columbus and has a bachelor's degree in business from Mount Vernon Nazarene College.

He started his career as a police officer in Perry Township and was hired by the New Albany Police Department in 1989. He was promoted to sergeant three years later.

Jones credited Chaney with "setting the department up for success" and said his transition has been smooth thanks to Mark Anderson and Ed Burton, the department's other two sergeants.

He said his hours have changed to "business hours" and the other sergeants have agreed to a morning/afternoon shift and afternoon/evening shift to make the transition work.

"They had to take on an equal amount of responsibility," Jones said.

Jones said his second week as interim chief was hectic but he's been able to change his focus. He now is able to supervise the entire department as opposed to managing one shift of personnel at a time.

"I'm looking forward to the next six months," he said. "It's a pretty exciting time for the community and for me personally."

McAfee said Jones was the only internal candidate who applied for the position.

"We think we have the right candidate," McAfee said. "It's time consuming and costly to go through the process but we need to be fair. After six months we'll determine whether we have the right candidate. If not, we'll have to initiate a search on a full scale."

During the six-month period, Jones will earn $88,863.81, a 7 percent raise from his normal salary.

McAfee said the police chief is considered a city department head, and the current salary range for those positions is $85,164 to $103,121. Chaney was earning $103,113 at his retirement.

New sergeant

Jones said city officials also plan to hire another sergeant this month.

The need for a fourth sergeant was reiterated in 2012 during the city's first police contract negotiations with the Fraternal Order of Police Capital City Lodge No. 9.

According to the job posting, the pay range for the position is $69,728 to $83,050 annually, and the position includes benefits.

Police officers have the same benefits package as other city employees, which require them to pay 5 percent of costs. The city picks up 95 percent.

Seven New Albany police officers met the qualifications for sergeant, which include seven years experience and two years in a supervisory position, but only two, Kris Daniels and Joe Rennert, applied for the position.

Outside applications were accepted until Feb. 14 and testing for the position was held Feb. 18.

Jones said the city is narrowing the list of candidates for sergeant to four. After the April hire, if Jones is chosen as chief in September, another candidate from the list likely will be hired to fill his position.