Top candidate chosen in public safety director search

MANISTEE — The City of Manistee is a few steps closer to a new public safety director.

Negotiations are underway after city manager Thad Taylor and a panel conducted interviews last month for the position. Current public safety director David Bachman announced his retirement late last year. His last day will be March 31.

“At the end of the day our interview panel unanimously identified a top candidate. There were no discussions,” said Taylor.

Tim Kozal has been the chief of police for the Ontwa Township Edwardsburgh Police Department for over two years.

Prior to that, for about a year he was a supervisor at Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids. However, Kozal gained most of his professional experience at the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety.

“He retired there after 23 years. He was a detective sergeant; he also was a patrol sergeant,” said Taylor.

Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety is a fully cross-trained public safety department. Kozal is trained as a police officer and a firefighter, Taylor said, which is something that was high on the priority list when looking for a leader for Manistee’s Department of Public Safety.

Kozal has a bachelor’s degree from Siena Heights University in Adrian, and has worked as an adjunct professor at Grand Rapids Community College Police Academy, according to Taylor.

Before conducting interviews, Taylor said that being community minded is an important trait that he was looking for in a candidate.

“He’s been involved in the community. He was a varsity men’s basketball coach; he was a fundraiser director for a local 5K run,” said Taylor. “He’s involved in his church. He got an award from Kalamazoo County Mental Health. He’s really involved in his community, which for me, is very important.”

Taylor said during the interview, Kozal was forward about his community involvement and empowering employees.

“He used as an example, he’s in a smaller department. They had a budget problem and he took a swing at it. Then he got all his officers together, had a meeting and said, ‘How are we going to do this? Let’s work on this as a team,'” said Taylor. “So it’s nice to see that he involved his department.

Seven candidates were interviewed, two internal and five external, by Taylor and public safety directors from the City of Muskegon and Emmett Township.

A background check has been performed, and Taylor will seek approval from City Council during its meeting on March 20.

“I’m going to meeting with our personnel committee and going over it with them prior to that,” Taylor said. “Right now he and I are exchanging phone calls and talking about what kind of package is it going to take to get him up here.”

A start date has not yet been set, but Taylor hopes that Kozal will start in the position before the end of April. Taylor is working with Bachman on a transition plan.

“The departments will not be leaderless,” said Taylor.

avatar

Posted by Michelle Graves

Michelle is the managing editor of the Manistee News Advocate. You can reach her at (231) 398-3106 or mgraves@pioneergroup.com.

Leave a Reply