Healdsburg Vice Mayor Susan Jones, who retired in 2010 after nine years as Healdsburg Police Chief and who was has been recruited to serve as interim police chief in Calistoga starting Monday.
"They approached me," Jones said Wednesday after announcing the short-term, part-time appointment to other members of Healdsburg City Council on Tuesday night. "It's kind of flattering."
Jones, 55, will replace current Calistoga Police Chief Jonathan Mills, who will move to a lieutenant position, she said. Jones declined to say what generated the need for a personnel change.
"I'm just going to assess the department and get them started in community policing," said Jones, who also served as interim chief in Cotati Police Department for six months last year. "And I will help them out in hiring a new police chief."
According to an article in the Napa Valley Register, tension in the Calistoga Police Department began last year over union contract issues.
"The police department has been at the center of considerable turmoil over the last year, starting with tense labor negotiations last summer," the article states. "The city and the Calistoga Police Officers Association failed to reach a deal on pay and benefit cuts, leading the City Council to impose a contract unilaterally, hiking the cost of pension and health benefits for officers."
Click here to read the full newspaper article.
Jones said she has signed a contract for no more than 960 hours through December at a rate of $70 per hour, with no benefits. She said the job would not affect or increase her current pension from Healdsburg and from her prior job in the Concord Police Department, where she served 17 years, leaving at the rank of district commander.
Jones said the new job would not cut into her role on Healdsburg City Council, since the Calistoga City Council meets on the first and third Tuesday nights, where Healdsburg meets on the first and third Monday nights.
She said she was recruited by Calistoga City Manager Richard Spitler, who is a former Healdsburg City Planning Director, Jones said.
"I worked with him for seven years when he was in Healdsburg," Jones said. "He told me he liked what I did in Healdsburg, and when he knew he needed an interim chief, he thought I could be of help."
She added that her term as president of will end June 30 -- so she would have additional time to devote to the interim position.
"I still plan to attend Rotary meetings, since I don't have to be in Calistoga until 9 a.m.," she said. Rotary meetings are at 7 a.m. on Wednesdays.
Jones, who, in her free time, is also board president of the nonprofit said she is not daunted by having to wear so many hats.
"I'm looking forward to a new adventure," she said. "I think it will be fun."