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They got it right

It’s been some time in coming, but they did it right and because of their actions, the City of New Richmond hit the sweet spot of personnel moves this week.

Guided by City Administrator Mike Darrow, the process he laid out for the police and fire commission worked to perfection when the city turned to lieutenant and interim police chief Craig Yehlik and offered him the full-time post of chief.

Not to downplay the credentials and qualifications of the other two finalists -- Mark Richert, North Hudson Police Chief, and John Franklin, an adjunct professor at Daley College and former member of the Chicago Police Department -- but it became clear to many close to the situation that Yehlik was the best person for this job, at this time.

With 20-plus years of employment inside the New Richmond Police Department, the community knows Yehlik; the community likes what he has brought to the department and the community residents and city officials want that to continue under his leadership.

From what we’ve seen, Yehlik also has the respect of his colleagues in the department. Because of his longstanding tenure within the agency, Yehlik has worked alongside all department personnel. It appears they have his back and that Yehlik is prepared to work hard for them, too.

All one has to do is take a peek at The News’ Facebook page, as well as that managed by the city, and it becomes immediately apparent that Yehlik was the right choice.

We here at The News are especially pleased with Yehlik’s commitment to an open and transparent department. It’s no secret that this newspaper continues its lawsuit against the department and the city over what we feel are open records transgressions and abuse over the release of information.

Our hope is that these types of issues simply dissipate with the cooperation to which Yehlik has said he is committed.

Police work is difficult; protecting the public is one of the most important, if not the most important aspect of government. With Yehlik behind the wheel at this local police department we feel things are headed in the right direction.

Mayor Fred Horne said he’s excited about the many ideas Yehlik supports to improve community and police relations.

So are we.

A new era has begun here in New Richmond. We appreciate the years former Chief Mark Samelstad spent leading the department, but it’s now time look toward the future.

We formally recognize here the great efforts of city officials in coming to this final decision and at the same time look forward to working with the new chief.

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