City Manager Reese Goad says he remains confident in the selection process for Tallahassee's next police chief. After Antonio Gilliam rescinded his acceptance of the job, Goad said officials would return to a list of eight top candidates to make a new pick.
"We will not do another six-month process. It's important to have good leadership, good direction in TPD. We have good candidates," Goad said.
Gilliam released a letter Thursday explaining his decision to step back from the job. In it he says he was committed to becoming the city's next police chief and had taken steps to do so--including putting his home in St. Petersburg up for sale and renting a new apartment here. But he also describes his frustration over two specific sticking points in his contract negotiation: He wanted to be able to select his own command staff, and wanted to secure a contract that would ensure he could only be fired for cause for six years after he accepted the job.
As those negotiations proceeded, Lawrence Revel, one of three finalists who had been vying for chief, told media he would be named as second in command. Gilliam pushed back on those comments, but some local leaders allege behind the scenes pressure. They point to that as one of the main reasons for Gilliam's decision.
"An individual can only proceed so far before his cognitive abilities override of the emotion of returning home at any and all costs," Gilliam wrote in his letter. Gilliam was working as the assistant chief of police in St. Petersburg, but grew up in Tallahassee.
During Friday's press conference Goad said he would not guess at the reasons behind Gilliam's decision. He says his staff worked to create a contract reflecting many of Gilliam’s requests.
"One of his requests...was that he would have as much certainty in the job as possible. The contract included a definition of 'cause' as well as severance if he was terminated. That was something he shared that we agreed with," Goad said.
Goad says he hopes to "move expeditiously" to select a new chief, adding that "the input of our Tallahassee Police Department will be instrumental in making this decision."