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Yeah, Just How Did Terrell Bolton Land That New Gig, Anyway?

Terrell Bolton has a new job. Only, some folks in Georgia can't figure out just how he got it.

The selection of Terrell Bolton as the new police chief of DeKalb County, Georgia, has some folks in Atlanta scratching their heads -- like, oh, Maureen Downey, a columnist for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. After all, Bolton wasn't among the finalists recommended by "a seven-member committee of community leaders" appointed by DeKalb County CEO Vernon Jones to look for the next chief. Yeah, they thought he was qualified -- he'd been chief of police in Dallas, after all -- but the committee instead recommended three other people: interim police Chief Nick Marinelli, Atlanta deputy police Chief Harold Dunovant and former Savannah-Chatham County police Chief Dan Flynn. And Jones said in June he was going to take the committee's recommendations to heart.

Only he didn't. So, how come?

Writes Downey: "In overruling a search committee, Jones has caused Terrell Bolton to assume the chief's position with a question hanging over him: Is he the best man for the job?" Turns out Jones chucked the committee's recommendation and went with a decision offered by two of his close friends, one of whom's a former F.B.I. agent. Downey writes that it's "not clear" exactly how they came to the conclusion that a chief responsible for a $5.6 million payout by the city of Dallas and a fake-drugs scandal would be the best man for the gig. So, Downey asks (she has a lot of questions but not a lotta answers), "the choice of Bolton raises a question: Did Jones place more importance on loyalty than competency?" Oooh, oooh -- can we answer that one? --Robert Wilonsky

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