Malden police Chief James Holland is set to retire at the end of February, but there's no hurry to find his permanent successor, Mayor Gary Christenson said.
Christenson has formed a panel to review potential internal candidates for the job, which began to meet formally earlier in January, he said. Holland will turn 65 on Feb. 26, the mandatory date of retirement for police officers in Massachusetts.
"Time is not of the essence," Christenson said Monday. "I want them to do as much as they can to help us get the best chief, I don't want them to feel rushed."
The panel is tasked with narrowing down potential internal candidates, then recommending an appointee to Christenson. External candidates will only be considered if suitable candidates are not found within the department, Christenson said.
An interim chief will be appointed if a recommendation isn't made before Holland's retirement, Christenson said.
"Obviously we'd like to have it in time for when Chief Holland parts, but if the group feels they need more time, then I certainly would support that decision," he said.
The panel includes City Councilors Barbara Murphy and Neal Anderson, human resources director Eleanor Cushing, Superintendent David DeRuosi, and five private citizens.
Christenson said he did not give the panel specific instructions, but that he expected it to be a public process.
"I'm hoping they'll use every tool at their disposal to involve the community in this decision," he said.
Reached by phone Friday, Murphy said she would not comment on the panel's progress.
"There is nothing I'm prepared to discuss," she said. "When we have something to announce, we'll announce it."