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Big issue arises that could prevent Green Bay hiring its next Police Chief

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GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - There is a problem with the city of Green Bay hiring its next Chief of Police, he says he won’t move back into the city. 

Tom Molitor retired as Assistant Police Chief in 2011. Then in mid-2012 was appointed as Interim Chief to replace outgoing Chief Jim Arts. 

The city then began a months-long process to hire a new chief, even doing a national search that weeded out 54 other candidates from around the country. 

Molitor was one of four finalists.

On Monday, the Police and Fire Commission made a recommendation to hire Molitor as the next Chief of Police.

However, city ordinance requires all department heads to live within the city’s boundaries. 

Molitor says he made that clear during his first interview with the PFC. Molitor added he would not be moving back into town and if that disqualifies him, he would be finished at that point. 

Molitor says the PFC suggested he move forward and there would be talks of a waiver down the road. That waiver, or exception to the city’s residency requirement, would have to go before the city’s Personnel Committee. 

At Tuesday night’s meeting, Molitor stated his intentions if the city council did not grant him an exception. 

“I don’t want to be in a position to draw a line in the sand, but I’m not going to move back in” Molitor said. 

Under the city’s policy, Molitor would have a year to move into the city. 

Molitor stated that he bought a house in Abrams in 2005, and put a lot of blood and sweat into it.  Molitor told the committee that he feels the market is soft and doesn’t know if he could turn it over and didn’t think the juice would be worth the squeeze. 

The Personnel Committee voted 3 to 1 against granting a waiver.

Alderman Tom Sladek voted no and had this to say after the meeting. 

"The Police Chief is responsible for a 364, 24-7 response organization, and I believe the Police Chief needs to live in the city,” said Sladek.

Alderperson Amy Kocha was the lone vote in favor of an exception.

“Having a candidate that’s risen to the top of the pile is great in of itself” Kocha explained, “I think that’s why an exception should be made.” 

Kocha pointed out Molitor's long history with the department.  He was first hired as a cadet in 1980. 

The city council has the final say when they meet on February 5th. 

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