The number of candidates seeking to be the city's next police chief is down to five based on results from assessment tests administered last week to the eight original applicants by the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police.

The top five are William Early, Ronald Gray, Kimberly Nuesse, David M. Plesich and Jeffrey K. Scott.

Four of the five finalists have central Ohio ties; two -- Early and Nuesse -- either were employed or are currently employed by the Reynoldsburg Division of Police.

The next step in the process will be interviews Feb. 12 and 13 of the top five by a final-selection committee, said Sandra Boller, the city's director of human resources.

City Council President Doug Joseph will be on that committee, along with Mayor Brad McCloud and City Attorney Jed Hood, plus representatives from OACP and the Reynoldsburg Civil Service Commission, who have not yet been determined, Boller said.

Top five

Early, a lieutenant in Reynoldsburg's police department, has been acting chief since Sept. 22, former chief Jim O'Neill's last day on the job. O'Neill officially retired at the end of October.

Early started his service with the department as a patrol officer in 1995 and moved up through the ranks to detective, sergeant and then lieutenant.

According to his resume, he was a combat engineer with the United States Army, serving missions overseas from 1988 to 1992.

Gray is a retired deputy chief of the Homeland Security Division for the Columbus Division of Police. He has held various command positions with that division, including as commander of internal affairs from March 2005 to December 2008. He also served as a sergeant in the United States Army from 1976-1979.

Nuesse has been police chief for the village of Minerva Park since 2011. Before that, she served two years as chief of police for the city of Sandusky. She also was a lieutenant and administration bureau commander for the Reynoldsburg Division of Police from 2004 to 2006.

Plesich, who is licensed as an attorney in Ohio, has been a patrol officer with the police department in Charleston, South Carolina, since June 2016. Before that, he served as a lieutenant in the patrol bureau and then in the detective bureau at the Hilliard Division of Police from July 2011 to June 2016.

Scott has been chief of police at the Notre Dame College Police Department in South Euclid, Ohio, since 2013.

He is the owner and firearms instructor of the Law Enforcement Training and Tactical Institute. He also is a lecturer and has published a number of articles on effective law enforcement strategies, according to his resume.

The process

Boller said the interview process would determine the top three candidates for police chief, with McCloud making his choice from among those three.

Joseph and Boller differed about whether the mayor's choice would also be voted on by City Council.

Joseph said a majority vote by City Council would confirm the mayor's choice.

"I participated in this process when it was last followed in 2012 when former Chief Jim O'Neill was appointed chief of police," he said.

Boller cited the city charter, however, which she said does not call for a City Council vote on the mayor's final choice.

"The appointing authority is the mayor," Boller said. "There is no confirmation by City Council."

City Attorney Jed Hood agreed with Boller.

"The mayor is the appointing authority, per city charter, for the position of police chief," he said.

Once the mayor makes his final selection from the top three named by the selection committee, there would be no council vote needed, Hood said.

He said Reynoldsburg's city charter gives the mayor the authority to appoint, promote, remove, suspend or otherwise discipline all officers and employees in the administrative departments except for the law director's and city auditor's offices, subject to the portions of the charter pertaining to civil service.

The charter also grants the city auditor and city attorney the authority to appoint, promote, suspend, remove or discipline employees in their respective offices, Hood said.