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May 2, 2012 2:50 AM by Hope Hanselman

Paso Robles will spend almost $20,000 to find a new police chief

Paso Robles Mayor, Duane Picanco, says the City Council passed the vote tonight to hire an outside search firm to find a new police chief.

The city will spend almost $20,000 to hire William Avery and Associates to fill the position Lisa Solomon left open weeks ago when she resigned.

Community and city council members discussed the topic at a Paso Robles City Council meeting tonight. Mayor Picanco says he didn't hear as much opposition to the proposal as he was expecting. He says one person called the cost of the firm "unusually expensive," another person said he didn't "think it was necessary."

Still, the vote passed unanimously with a vote of 5-0.

City Manager, Jim App, says the firm has been working with the city for about 30 years. They've hired for other positions in the community and worked closely with the police department.

Council members say the position will be open to local applicants, as well. They say they are looking for the most qualified person for the job.

"I think the price is worth it because Avery is familiar with the community," Picanco said.

San Luis Obispo City Manager, Katie Lichtig, said San Luis Obispo also hired an outside search firm when they filled the police chief position last year. She says the city paid $12,500 to hire that company. The total cost of filling the position, including traveling and advertising, accounted for more than $18,000.

Paso Robles City Council members say the agreement between the city and the company should be signed by the end of the week. However, it may take six to eight months until a new police chief takes office.

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