City manager has a tough call to make | IN OUR OPINION

Bainbridge Island City Manager Doug Schulze will soon make the biggest decision of his young career on the island.

We’re optimistic that he’ll get it right. And we suspect that we will never hear the end of it if he doesn’t.

Bainbridge has brought five finalists for police chief to the island this week, and the candidates met with the public during an informal gathering Thursday night at city hall.

All of the finalists — Richard Daniels, Harry Glidden, Richard Goerling, Matthew Hamner and Bryce Johnson — come with impressive résumés and with plenty of law enforcement experience. It will be a tough choice to pick the man best suited to take the helm of the Bainbridge Island Police Department as it tries to mend its poor standing in the community; a chief who is a leader first, one who can inspire his officers to meet a higher level of professionalism; a manager, second; and an exemplary communicator, as well, inside and outside of the department.

Schulze won’t make this critical decision in isolation. He’ll be assisted by four panels who will interview the candidates. We hope Schulze is especially mindful of the feedback he receives from other law enforcement professionals, city managers and community leaders who have volunteered their time to participate in the panels. Their input should be given great weight.

In the end, however, Schulze will own the decision, and his future success with the city will be forever influenced by it.

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