The Gazette covers City Hall, now a flood-damaged icon on May's Island in the Cedar River

Prosser will ask council to approve new police chief on Wednesday; one finalist in the hunt in Kalamazoo, too

In City Hall, Police Department on May 8, 2008 at 11:51 pm

City Manager Jim Prosser on Thursday said he anticipates selecting the city’s new police chief from four finalist candidates early next week and asking City Council approval of his selection at the council’s Wednesday evening meeting.

The drama in the selection process is whether Prosser is going to select one of the two outside, out-of-state candidates or one of the two candidates who are current Cedar Rapids police captains.

The finalists are Kenneth Greg Graham, 46, deputy police chief in Ocala, Fla.; Jeff Hadley, 37, police captain in Fort Wayne, Ind.; and Steve O’Konek, 46, and Bernie Walther, 47, Cedar Rapids police captains.

Meanwhile, the blog, Fort Wayne Observed, reported Thursday evening that Hadley also is a finalist for public safety chief in Kalamazoo, Mich.

Graham had been a finalist in January to become chief in Bellevue, Wash., but city officials there picked a local candidate.

After a first round of interviews in Cedar Rapids of seven candidates, the city’s Civil Service Commission determined that five of the seven were qualified to be the Cedar Rapids chief. The commission ranked the five, with O’Konek first, Graham, second, Hadley, third, Capt. Joseph D’Agostino, 49, of the Port St. Lucie, Fla., fourth, and Walther, fifth.

D’Agostino withdrew after a second round of interviews with City Manager Jim Prosser, Mo Sheronick, assistant city attorney, and Conni Huber, the city’s human resources director.

Prosser makes the final selection with the approval of the City Council.

The new chief replaces Mike Klappholz, who retired in March.

During the first interviews, Sheronick noted that the Cedar Rapids department has not had a chief from outside its ranks for more than 30 years.

Earlier this year, a consultant helping the city find a new chief, the Police Executive Research Forum, Washington, D.C., said most times a chief comes from outside a department when it is called into help in a police chief search.

Videotapes of the first round of interviews can be found at



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