Itís official: Police Chief Greg Graham is going back to Ocala, Fla., the north central Florida city that he left in June 2008 to head up the Cedar Rapids Police Department.
The Ocala City Council on Tuesday evening voted to hire Graham as its next police chief, Ocala.com reported and Cedar Rapids City Manager Jeff Pomeranz confirmed.
The vote did not come without some community debate in Ocala, where Graham is replacing an African-American police chief who unexpectedly resigned in December and where the mayor, Kent Guinn, nominated Graham as the new police chief without a candidate search.
The population of Ocala is a city of 56,315, and members of the African-American community there, which comprises 21 percent of the cityís population, quizzed Guinn at a public meeting last week about his move to hire Graham without a candidate search. Guinn defended his choice of Graham, saying Graham was ďthe right person to work with at this time and he is my choice,Ē according to an Ocala news report.
Cedar Rapidsí† Pomeranz, who announced Grahamís pending departure on Dec. 23, said Graham submitted his resignation as Cedar Rapids police chief early Tuesday evening. In his resignation letter, Graham said that his last day at the Cedar Rapids department will be Jan. 13. He starts Jan. 15 in Ocala, the website Ocala.com reported Tuesday night.
"Graham did an outstanding job for the city of Cedar Rapids and moved the Police Department forward," Pomeranz said. "He will be missed personally and professionally."
Pomeranz†said the city will conduct a national search Ė a search that will include candidates now in the Cedar Rapids department Ė to find Grahamís replacement.
Grahamís total compensation package in Ocala is worth more than his current package with the city of Cedar Rapids, according to information made public on Tuesday by both cities.
Graham currently earns $139,048 in annual salary at the Cedar Rapids Police Department and will earn $133,820 in annual salary and an additional $6,691 in annual deferred compensation at the Ocala Police Department.The city of Ocala will pay an additional $39,363 a year into a police pension fund for Graham, compared to $30,873 now paid into a similar fund by the city of Cedar Rapids.