VINELAND - The city is proposing to change the requirements for its public safety director, in part to make more qualified people eligible to hold the position.
Among the changes sought is a reduction in the number of years of administrative, business or law enforcement experience candidates need before they can apply for the post.
But the nature of those changes is up for debate.
During its meeting Tuesday, City Council pulled an ordinance that established the new requirements.
Some City Council members thought the proposed requirements, such as the reduction in years of experience, were not as stringent as necessary, given the job. The panel will now review the requirements, which is likely to happen when the council meets next week, before taking any formal action on the measure.
The public safety director in Vineland is responsible for all the local Police Department's fiscal and administrative affairs. That includes preparing budgets, developing department rules and regulations, presiding over department hearings and providing for the "health, safety or welfare of the city in an emergency situation through special emergency directives," according to city's administrative code.
The current requirements say a candidate must have 10 years of administrative experience in business or government, or a decade of experience in police administration. The person must, according to the city's code, be a person of "high moral character" who has never been convicted of a crime involving "moral turpitude."
Under the proposed changes, a candidate must not have been convicted of a crime or disorderly persons offense for the 10-year period before applying for the post. That requirement was changed because local officials felt it was "inappropriate to have someone with a felony running the Police Department," City Solicitor Richard Tonetta said.
The proposed changes would reduce the 10-years of required experience to five years. The changes also would allow for candidates to have served in the military with, or above, the rank of chief master sergeant for five years.
Tonetta said the changes are being proposed after discussions with Mayor Ruben Bermudez and police Chief Timothy Codispoti.
The public safety director position is currently vacant.
Edwin Cintron resigned from the post in December. Cintron, a former city police officer who ran unsuccessfully for City Council on Bermudez's ticket in 2012, was appointed public safety director after Bermudez took office in January 2013.
City Council on Tuesday failed to confirm Bermudez's nominee to replace Cintron. City Council voted 2-0 against confirming William Gonzalez, who formerly directed Cumberland County's 911 Emergency Communications Center. Three City Council members abstained from voting.
Some City Council members said they did not think Gonzalez had the qualifications for the post.
Cintron was preceded by Robert Romano, a former city police officer who held the post until losing his mayoral re-election bid to Bermudez in 2012.
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