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5 Questions: Consultant searches for Carlisle police chief candidates

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Carlisle is on the lookout for a new police chief after Stephen Margeson retired March 11. To help with that, borough officials have turned to a consultant.

During its April 14 meeting, the borough council approved the hiring of The Novak Consulting Group, based in Cincinnati, Ohio, for a cost not to exceed $30,000. Novak was brought in to aid the borough in its nationwide search to fill the vacant police chief position Lt. Stephen Latshaw is temporarily holding.

According to Assistant Borough Manager Debra Figueroa, the borough is working mostly with Catherine Tuck Parrish, executive search practice leader for The Novak Consulting Group.

Since the two entities began working together on the search, Parrish has met various local community groups and business organizations to gather a better feel for what type of candidate would fit best for the borough.

Q. Can you explain what type of work The Novak Consulting Group does for our readers?

A. The Novak Consulting Group provides executive search, strategic planning and organizational assessment services to local governments and nonprofit organizations across the country. We are staffed with local government professionals. Our mission is to strengthen organizations for those within the organizations and the people they serve.

Q. Other than the police chief position, what, if any other positions could you help a municipality search for?

A. We assist in recruitments for municipal managers, department directors and other key positions in local government.

Q. Are firms like yours utilized usually by smaller or bigger municipalities, or is the size of a particular municipality not a factor?

A. We have worked for local governments of all sizes — from populations around 1,000 to more than 350,000. We are hired for a variety of reasons. Some jurisdictions don’t have the capacity to conduct the searches because they don’t have the staff or the staff they have are busy with day-to-day work. Other times it is helpful to have a neutral third party facilitate the process to avoid any doubts about it being an open and fair process for all candidates, whether internal or external.

Q. What has the experience been like working with Carlisle thus far?

A. It has been great to meet so many different people who all care so much about Carlisle. It’s a special community, and it is clear people love to live and work here.

Q. What happens now in Carlisle at this point as far as the process is concerned?

A. We will use the stakeholder feedback we have gathered to develop a recruitment profile of the Police Chief position that focuses not just on the required and preferred qualifications, but also paints a picture of the ideal police chief. Then we will advertise the position nationally and begin our direct outreach once the position is posted.

Tyler Miles is a news reporter for The Sentinel covering Carlisle. Follow him on Twitter @TylerTMiles or email him at


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