City Council announces pick for new Madison City Police Chief

Updated: May. 20, 2021 at 10:22 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Two months ago, there were 60 candidates for a new Madison City Chief Police and it all came down to one decision by Madison City Council on Thursday.

Johnny Gandy, a captain of the Virginia Beach Department will be offered the job.

”The vote, when it’s not an anonymous vote, lets you know how difficult this decision was,” Madison Mayor Paul Finley said.

Mayor Finley says he’s excited a decision has been made, as this was a long and strenuous process.

Four finalists spoke at a public forum several weeks ago, including interim police chief Captain John Stringer.

“He has a lot of experience and we were excited to have a candidate that made it to the final four. I think what it tells this community is that we listen,” Finley said.

Direct feedback sent into the city.

“Some with a full analysis, as you’d expect from our community on the good, the bad. The great thing about it is there was no ugly. They were very impressed with our candidates,” Finley explained.

But at the special called council meeting Thursday night, two council members made it clear, approving Johnny Gandy for hire is a mistake.

“I don’t think this is the direction we should go in. I’m very concerned about the message this is going to send not just to the police department but to our entire city entity and this is not something I support,” district one council member Maura Wroblewski said.

”We will support Gandy in any way, but I also agree it doesn’t really reflect where our city is going,” district six council member Karen Denzine said.

WAFF 48 requested an interview with council member Wroblewski to explain why, but she declined.

Finley says Stringer will continue to be a team player.

“He was going to be fully in the city of Madison doing whatever he was asked to do to continue to move this department forward,’ Finley said.

Gandy currently supervises more than 100 officers for the Virginia Beach Police Department and started his career in law enforcement in 1987.

Finley says now his task is to improve an already solid team.

“Take a unified group and lead them to the next level.”

Mayor Finley announced he will finalize employment terms for a final Council vote at the June 14th City Council meeting.

“It was our job to present four extremely qualified candidates to Council for consideration, and we will move forward quickly to finalize this choice,” Mayor Finley said. “As Mayor, I am looking forward to working alongside Mr. Gandy to ensure that public safety and community connection with our residents in Madison continues to stay strong.”

A release from the City of Madison says negotiations for employment will take place in the following weeks.

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