Brainerd council offers police chief job to Fargo lieutenant
George Vinson has worked in several capacities for the Fargo Police Department over the past 17 years.
George Vinson, a lieutenant in the Fargo Police Department, is in line to become the next Brainerd police chief should he accept the job offer.
The Brainerd City Council voted Monday, Dec. 21, to offer Vinson the job of outgoing Chief Corky McQuiston, who is soon set to retire.
After the city’s civil service commission whittled the top seven candidates down to three, the council voted 5-2 to offer Vinson the job.
Dave Pritschet, Kelly Bevans, Tad Erickson, Jan Lambert and Gabe Johnson all cast their ballots for Vinson, while Kevin Stunek and Wayne Erickson voted for Brent Baloun, the police chief in Becker who was born and raised in Brainerd.
Vinson grew up in Ruthton, Minnesota, and said during his council interview he always wanted to work in a small town in Minnesota but ultimately took a position in Fargo after finishing school at Minnesota State University-Moorhead, as that department was hiring at the time.
Over the past 17 years, Vinson has spent time as an officer, detective, assistant emergency preparedness coordinator, sergeant, school resources sergeant and field service lieutenant. He has also worked in the K-9 unit.
Vinson has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and sociology and a masters in public safety and law enforcement.
“What I’d really like to do is get back to a community like Brainerd,” he said during his interview with the council Dec. 10. “Brainerd specifically because I’m an outdoors person. I love what Brainerd has to offer in terms of hunting, fishing, the outdoors side of it.”
The hiring process
The city received 25 applications for the position. With the help of David Drown Associates, a hiring committee of City Administrator Jennifer Bergman, Human Resources Director Kris Schubert, police and fire civil service commission member Cathy Gray and McQuiston narrowed that list down to seven finalists, who interviewed with the city council and community panel Dec. 10. The community panel consisted of Brainerd Fire Chief Tim Holmes, Brainerd Public Schools Superintendent Laine Larson, Mid-Minnesota Women’s Center Executive Director Shannon Wussow, Baxter Police Chief Jim Exsted and Bemidji Police Chief Mike Mastin.
Community panel members then rated candidates in nine areas: communication skills, clarity of ideas, innovation, articulated vision for the position, degree of research on the city of Brainerd, understanding of the position, theoretical knowledge, teamwork and interpersonal skills. Candidates were scored out of a possible 75 points.
The hiring committee awarded up to 20 points for each candidate’s application related to training and experience and five points for a pre-recorded video interview. The civil service commission then reviewed the scores Monday and certified the top three candidates.
Out of a possible 100 points, Vinson ranked highest with 86.9, followed by Baloun with 79.4 and Siebeneck with 70.15.
Other candidates were: Chad Worden, police sergeant with the Metro Transit Police Department in the Twin Cities, 57.6; Ty Sharp, police chief at the Dilworth Police Department, 53.5; James Carroll, patrol sergeant/supervisor in the Minneapolis Police Department’s 3rd Precinct, 49.05; and Peyton Fleming, patrol sergeant at the Mendota Heights Police Department, 47.9.
Gary Weiers, of David Drown Associates, said he would get the process going as quickly as possible and contact Vinson after the meeting Monday. The council then appointed its personnel and finance committee to work with Weiers, Schubert and Bergman on contract negotiations with Vinson.
Before he can be hired, Vision must take the Minnesota Reciprocity Licensing Examination through the Minnesota Board of Peace Officer Standards and Training, as he is coming from another state. Weiers said Vinson has already initiated that process. He will also have to undergo a background check and fingerprinting by the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.
Once all those pieces are in place, the council will vote to ratify the hiring.
THERESA BOURKE may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 218-855-5860. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DispatchTheresa .