Black Mountain picks new police chief, who then withdraws application
After a lengthy selection process, the town of Black Mountain chose Russ Gilliland, the chief of police in Maggie Valley, as the new chief in town, only to have him withdraw his application almost a week later.
Black Mountain selected Gilliland to be the new police chief Aug. 19, Josh Harrold, Black Mountain town manager, said in an email. Gilliland withdrew as candidate Aug. 25.
"There were two top candidates," Harrold said Aug. 25, not revealing the other candidate. "I will be meeting with the other candidate within the next week and hope to be able to make an offer."
According to Gilliland, as word circulated through Maggie Valley of his imminent departure, the community voiced its strong desire for him to stay. From his patrol officers to the residents of the town, Gilliland said his town did not want him to leave.
"I have to say that I was humbled by the amount of support and just not wanting me to leave," he said.
Out of a pool of roughly 20 applications for the new chief position, Harrold chose eight to proceed to the next round of the selection process. The town then sent the candidates a series of questions, using the responses as the basis for determining the next round.
Harrold narrowed the search to five applicants to be brought in for interviews. The interview board consisted of six panelists, including the town manager, town department heads and council member Archie Pertiller.
"At that point we narrowed it down to two applicants," Harrold said. "The interview panel was good with both of those applicants."
Black Mountain chose Gilliland due to his proximity to the town as well as his familiarity with a growing locality that also attracts tourism, Harrold said. Maggie Valley also utilizes a community-based policing approach, making Gilliland a good option to continue the legacy of Chief Shawn Freeman.
Harrold said he plans to push forward with the other favored candidate.
"If that doesn't work out, I will start the process again," Harrold said.