The Columbus Civil Service Commission has revised job descriptions to allow candidates from outside of the city to apply for the positions of police chief and fire chief.
The commission says the change was made as part of a routine review and was based, in part, on a survey of peer cities. For decades, the city has promoted from within the ranks. But Columbus Police Chief Kim Jacobs has been publicly critical of Mayor Andy Ginther's 2018 budget proposal, saying it does not include enough money for her division to adequately address the city's rising homicide rate and the opioid crisis. Multiple sources from the police union, police and fire divisions and city hall have told WCBE Ginther is frustrated with the division and wanted the change. The mayor's office has denied that, and the commission has said the changes were recommended in a study in 2010. Local police union president Jason Pappas, who backed Jacobs' call for more money this week, says the change is unnecessary and he likely will file a complaint. A leader of the activist group The People’s Justice Project says the change is welcome, and could help improve police-community relations. During his state of the city speech this year, Ginther said Jacobs was getting a five-year contract extension.