City of Reno spokesman Kevin Knutson said Poehlman was planning to retire to Southern California where he has family. Poehlman was not available for comment, but Knutson said he did not believe health or any other factors motivated the chief’s decision.
Knutson said the city will have someone within the police department’s ranks serve as an interim chief and begin a national search for a replacement mostly likely in a matter of weeks. The applications will be reviewed and applicants interviewed and the final choice must be approved by the Reno City Council. Such searches generally take quite a few months, Knutson said.
The position has an annual salary range of $145,384 to $190,453. Knutson said he thinks the search will proceed quickly but that freezing the position to save money may be an option.
“In this environment we have to look at every expense very carefully,” he said.
The city has had to deal with several tough layoffs due to ailing revenues and suffering budgets. At the beginning of December 2009, city leaders were expecting to patch a $3.6 million budget hole in the 2009-2010 fiscal year budget. However, reports on bleeding tax revenues led the city finance staff to project a $5.6 million shortfall as of Jan. 18. About 70 eliminated positions followed, including 16 layoff notices distributed at the city fire department. The layoffs cut enough salaries to get the city through until the end if this fiscal year and cover that additional and unexpected shortfall.
According to previous city reports, the Reno Police Department serves 109 square miles with an operating budget of more than $60.2 million and more than 469 full-time employees.
Former Sparks Police Chief Steve Asher resigned from his job in October 2009 and the position has remained vacant ever since. Asher was with the Sparks Police Department for 23 years and left to take a job in Carson City as an infrastructure liaison officer with the state of Nevada working for the State Fusion Center.