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Malden police chief to retire in February

Posted by Jarret Bencks  January 3, 2013 09:30 AM

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Chiefs5.jpgMalden Police Chief James J. Holland is expected to retire in February when he turns 65, the mandatory age of retirement for police officers in Massachusetts, Mayor Gary Christenson said Wednesday.

Christenson has formed a nine-member panel to review candidates for the job, which is expected to recommend a new chief sometime next month, he said.

When Holland was sworn in in March 2010, the city used a different system to appoint a chief. At that time, the job was considered a civil service position, and candidates within the department took a test, with the highest score being award the top job in the department, Christenson said.

"This is slightly different from times past," Christenson said. "Instead of relying solely on a testing center, we're coming up with other ways to measure who the next chief will be."

Only internal candidates will be considered for the job, at least initially, Christenson said. Candidates outside the department would only be considered if the panel is unable to find a suitable one already working for the city, he said.

"I've seen enough to know that there are some very good candidates from within," Christenson said. "If that were to fail, only then would we go outside."

The panel is expected to hold interviews, questionnaires, and possibly public forums, where residents could ask questions of candidates, Christenson said.

It includes City Councilors Barbara Murphy and Neal Anderson, City Human Resources Director Eleanor Cushing, Malden schools Superintendent David DeRuosi, and five citizens.

The candidate they recommend will be sent to Christenson, who will ultimately choose a new chief. The appointment does not require approval from the City Council, Christenson said.

Christenson in August pledged a renewed effort to curb gun violence in the city. The latest shooting came about 2 a.m. Tuesday, when a man was seriously injured on Harvard Street. 

Holland turns 65 on Feb 26, according to Kevin Morrison, director of the Malden Retirement Board. He will receive an 80 percent pension of his base salary, which was $123,824 last year, Morrison said.

Holland had not filed his retirement papers with the city as of last week, Morrison said. The chief did not return requests for comment.

Holland has been in law enforcement for 40 years, joining the Malden Police Department in 1975. He became a sergeant in 1979 and was promoted to lieutenant in 1983.

Choosing Holland's successor is expected to be Christenson's second appointment of a major department head in 2013. Fire Chief Michael J. Murphy is retiring at the end of January.

Jarret Bencks can be reached at Follow him on twitter @JarretBencks.

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