Police chief resigns post


(From the Hardin County News -- Wednesday, June 7, 2001)

SILSBEE - Silsbee city officials are now faced with the challenge of hiring a new police chief, after Tom Nelson submitted his letter of resignation last Thursday.

Nelson, who has been the Silsbee Police chief since October 1998, would not give specific reasons for his resignation, other than not being able to agree with City Manager Bill Lewis about the administrative handling of the police department.

Nelson said the resignation was not forced resignation, and he had hoped that he and the city manager could work through the problems.

After talking with the city manager, however, the resignation became official on Monday.

In his resignation letter, Nelson stated, "Due to recent and foreseeable philosophical differences between the City Manager
and myself, I no longer feel I am capable of fully executing the duties of Chief of Police of Silsbee, Texas in a manner that I feel adequate and proper."

According to Lewis, Nelson will act as a consultant until July 1 so that the transition in the police department will be as smooth as possible.

Lewis refused to give detailed information regarding the reasons behind Nelson's resignation.

Nelson said he has not made any definite plans for the future, but would like to stay in southeast Texas if possible and is seeking local openings for a police chief's position.

Nelson said he has enjoyed being Silsbee's police chief, and hopes his leadership will make other Silsbee police officers strive to further themselves in their careers.

"Every police chief leaves a legacy. I hope that I have helped to make Silsbee a better police department," Nelson said.

"The goal of every police chief is oto make the department better. By doing this you plant seeds in the younger officers to strive to do the best and obtain, the highest position in their profession. I hope I have been able to do this in Silsbee."

Lewis said Lt. Tommy Bartosh would serve as the interim police chief until a new chief is hired.

Bartosh, who held the interim position for about a year before Nelson was selected as police chief, said he feels that the transition should go smoothly until another police chief is hired.

Bartosh said during his previous interim position, he handled every aspect of the department, including the yearly budget and is not concerned about the current appointment.

Bartosh said one of the most important duties of the police chief is to serve as a liaison between the police department and the city council, of which he is confident he can do.

Bartosh said he is acquainted with all of the city council members, and is looking forward to working with the council and moving forward to further the positive relations between the council and the police department.

Since he has been serving as the second in command of the department for three years, Bartosh said he is well versed with the duties of the police chief.

In addition, Bartosh has been working for the Silsbee police department for more than 23 years, which he said gives him the experience to know what is best for the officers and the community.

Bartosh said during his service as interim police chief, there will not be any changes unless it is mandated by the city manager.

According to the City Charter, the city manager is responsible for hiring a new police chief, but Lewis said he is going to use recommendations made by city council members to help with the hiring of a new police chief.

He hopes that by getting the council involved in the selection process, a police chief best suited for the community will be hired.

Lewis said he will be accepting applications until the second week of July and then a workshop will be called so the city council can select the best three candidates.

He said the three selected candidates would then be asked to interview for the job and the person who the council feels will be the best for the community will be chosen as the police chief.

He said the police chief is such a critical position that the council should have a voice in the selection process.

"I plan to appoint whoever receives the majority of council votes," Lewis said.

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