Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Public Safety Director Search Begins

According to the Indianapolis Star, the process to replace Frank Straub has begun.  We soon will begin to see who might be the next Public Safety Director for the City of Indianapolis.

Straub leaves August 1.  While I won't be asked, I have some suggestions for the city as it looks for the next PSD, and, if I were someone in power, these are the kinds of people I would consider.

First of all, the next person to hold this job must care more about people and less about ego.  This is not a personality cult job.  It must be one person who does not overshadow Greg Ballard, even though that's incredibly easy to do.  The next PSD must have humility.

Secondly, the next person to hold this job must be visible, but he or she should never speak for the agencies of public safety.  It's the job of the chiefs of those departments to lead.  I should not be the job of the Public Safety Director to speak for them or lead for them.  The next PSD must be a delegator

Thirdly, the next public safety director must be transparent.  While this position is one that needs to be behind the scenes yet visible, the next PSD must not be afraid to step out of the shadows to be honest with the public when it is needed.  This is a position that requires a great deal of oversight, but it should not require a great deal of day-to-day operations management. The lines must always be open between the Department of Public Safety and this community.  The next PSD must be accessible.

Finally, the reforms must continue, but they should not come from the top down.  The next Public Safety Director should not come in and hit the ground and assume everything is bad in our public safety agencies.  Instead, as a good leader does, he or she should observe, listen, and make the best decisions for public safety.  There is no prescribed way to do this job, but the reforms must continue.  The next PSD must still find a way to be a change agent.

That's what I would look for in a person to lead the Department of Public Safety.  Other factors such as diversity and experience certainly would play into my decision, but it's important to get this next person right. The position is too important to be simply handed out to a political appointee.


Paul K. Ogden said...

All excellent suggestions.

As far as the search goes...the City of Indianapolis should actually investigate the person's background before hiring them. What happened to him or her during previous employment should be something they should consider. There were HUGE red flags from Frank Straub and John Clark's previous employment, and local officials said they didn't care. Yet the same problems that cost them those jobs, became an issue during their employment here in Indy.

It boggles my mind that we spend more effort researching the backgrounds of janitors we hire to clean the toilets at the City-County building than upper-level management positions.

Traci said...

Our current Sheriff John Layton has all those great qualities. Too bad Ballard won't consider him -- I'd feel much safer with him in charge as PSD.

Anonymous said...

Better yet, eliminate the position. I see now real purpose in that office. It would save the taxpayers money and help close the huge deficit in public safety caused by the creative bookkeeping of Ballard and Straub.