Worthington is closing in on naming a new police chief, according to city leaders.

City spokesperson Anne Brown said she could not give an exact date but a new chief is expected to be named soon.

City leaders previously had said a new chief potentially could have been named in early October.

Personnel director Lori Trego said City Manager Matt Greeson is continuing to evaluate candidates and hopes to have a decision in the next few weeks.

She said two finalists were invited back for further interviews and came to an open house to meet other officers Oct. 17.

Robert Buchanan and Robert Ware are the two finalists, Trego said.

Buchanan is police chief for Monroe in southwest Ohio, and Ware is chief for Portsmouth in southern Ohio.

The final choice will replace Jerry Strait, who had been chief since replacing James Mosic in 2016 and retired at the end of August, according to city leaders.

In the meantime, the department’s two lieutenants, Michael Holton and Stephen Mette, have served as acting chiefs, according to Brown.

Holton was acting chief from July 20 to Aug. 19. Mette took over the interim role Aug. 20

According to the application information on worthington.org, the salary of the new chief would be $125,522 per year. Brown said the salary range could vary depending on experience of the final candidate.

Brown said Strait’s salary was $125,522 per year, with a benefits package that includes required contributions to the Ohio Police & Fire Pension Fund of 19.5% of his salary (roughly $24,500) and insurance benefits ranging from $11,042 to $27,713, depending on single or family coverage.

Trego said both Holton and Mette are being paid at the chief’s rate during the times they serve as interim chief. Mette currently is the acting chief.

She said both will be paid an hourly rate of $55.89 per hour while serving as acting chief. She said Holton makes $53.60 an hour and Mette makes $51.64 an hour in their normal positions.

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