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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