SALEM - Salem Police Patrolman Brent Slider scored the highest on the promotion eligibility test for sergeant Monday night, but Mayor John Berlin said he doesn't know at this point when his promotion to sergeant will take place.
Berlin said as soon as they see the income tax receipts are staying strong, and considering the cuts to Local Government Fund income, some decision will be able to be made.
He said his intention is to fill the position as soon as possible, but when asked for a timetable, he couldn't provide one.
He explained that the exam by the city Civil Service Commission was set up so they'll be ready at the point in time when funding comes available.
City council created the new sergeant's position so there would be another one available for shift supervisor. The sergeant who spends part of his time with the Columbiana County Drug Task Force will be able to go full-time with the DTF and then the new sergeant will fill his spot as shift supervisor.
Police Chief Bob Floor said he'll have to wait until the mayor lets him know they're ready to go with the promotion. Once the promotion takes place, a new patrolman will have to be hired for the open patrolman's position.
Floor said they've already been doing background checks on the people listed as eligible for the position of patrolman. The current list is good until February, according to Civil Service Commission clerk Gary Moffett.
Slider was one of six patrolman who took the sergeant's exam Monday night. Other patrolman who took the test included Rich Miller, Danny Green, Rob Keister, Brandon Smith and Steve LaRosa.
On Dec. 11, the Civil Service Commission will administer a test for the chief's position, since Floor announced earlier this year that he will be retiring in February. Under the rules, the next level of rank, lieutenants, would be eligible to take the test, but if a majority doesn't sign up to make it competitive, the test is opened up to the next level of rank, in this case, sergeants.
Floor said the signups for the exam have closed and the three officers scheduled to take the chief's exam include Lt. Dave Casto, Sgt. J.T. Panezott and Sgt. John Scheets. Lts. Don Beeson and Charles Shafer opted out of taking the exam.
Slider, who will be first in line for an opening at sergeant, has been with the department since July 1999.
"I think he'll do a very good job. I'm glad the department's moving forward and I'm looking forward to the positive changes coming," Floor said.
Mary Ann Greier can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org