By: Benjamin J. Gohs, News Editor
Nearly seven months after Boyne City Police Chief Randy Howard retired, his replacement has been chosen.
Jeffrey D. Gaither was selected out of a pool of 32 applicants to become Boyne City’s new police chief.
The pool was narrowed to five candidates who each toured the area with Boyne City Interim Police Chief Craig Remsberg before a panel of officials including city managers and police officials interviewed them.
“It was, however, the consensus of the committee based on what they heard and the questions they asked during the interview process … also gathering input from the police department … and based on my own personal sense of what would be best for our organization Mr. Gaither came out as the lead candidate,” Cain said.
Cain said Gaither passed all financial, criminal and psychological background checks performed.
“He has extensive law enforcement and leadership service with the DNR in their law divisions, which has served him well,” Cain said. “He had some experience that none of the other candidates had which is—he’s here. He’s a resident of our community. He’s been active in our community for a number of years and he’s been a part-time police officer for Boyne City since 2007.”
Cain said Gaither knows the people and area and that will help him become acclimated to the position more quickly.
“I have been in law enforcement for 31 years and have extensive leadership experience,” Gaither stated in a letter to Cain. “I thoroughly enjoy police work and find it very rewarding.”
Gaither said his many years working with the DNR Law Enforcement Division allowed him to hone his skills and work with citizens in a variety of venues.
Gaither, who has lived in the Boyne area for at least 15 years raised two daughters here with his wife Terry.
“I am familiar with most of the school officials, many of the business owners, and the law enforcement agencies,” he stated. “I have volunteered countless hours in the community for the enrichment of young people, the city as a whole, as well as myself.”
Gaither will be paid $55,000 per year salary with two weeks of vacation per year for the first two years.
He will serve as an at-will employee.
“I believe Mr. Gaither would be a fine chief of police for the City of Boyne City and build on the strong foundations that our department has,” Cain said.
Remsberg said he speaks for the police department in saying they wholeheartedly support Gaither as chief of police.
Boyne City Commissioner Delbert “Gene” Towne said he found Gaither’s work history highly impressive.
Boyne City Commissioner Derek Gaylord asked Gaither if he is comfortable working with the police department’s budget.
Gaither said it is smaller than the DNR budget’s he has worked with but he understands the budget and is ready and willing to do the job before him.
Gaylord asked what Gaither’s immediate short-term goals were.
“I think my strong point … was my community involvement so I want to get involved in the community and bring the police administration to the community,” Gaither said. “My goal was to meet with some of the civic organizations right off the bat and tell them what we’re about again … and ask them what they expect from the police department.”
He added, “I know that we’re going to hear some positive and negative comments but I tend to go through that process and learn from it.”
Boyne City Commissioners Laura Sansom and Tom Neidhamer both said they support Gaither’s nomination.
“I look forward to having you as chief of police,” said Boyne City Mayor Ron Grunch.
Gaither’s nomination was unanimously approved during the commission’s Tuesday July 10, regular meeting.
Gaither was sworn in on Monday July 16.