By MICHAEL RODRIGUEZ
RIO HONDO – The City of Rio Hondo is closer to deciding the local police department’s new chief.
Mayor Gus Olivares said on Wednesday that the City Commission interviewed the top three applicants selected by the administration from a pool of about 10 or 12 candidates.
“We did some interviews, and to tell you the truth, I think by next week we can get something out to you guys,” Olivares said about selecting a new police chief. “We have to clear everything before we can even name someone, and it all depends on the results of the actual process that the city has right now.”
Specifically, Olivarez said the Commission hopes to announce the new police chief possibly by Monday, Dec. 8.
“We’re still pending paperwork and clearance,” Olivarez added. “There were close to 10 (applicants), but the Commission gave direction to the City Manager to present the top three.”
It was in September when Rio Hondo Police Chief Weldon Matlock resigned from his post. At that time, Sergeant Victor Tamayo of the Rio Hondo Police Department was assigned as interim chief and has since served in that capacity.
“Mr. Matlock – he moved on to another job,” Olivares said in a previous interview. “That was his decision.”
The mayor was previously uncertain when Matlock officially tendered his resignation. However, Matlock’s resignation letter, obtained via a public information request, indicates that he gave notice on Sept. 2 and that his last day was Sept. 16.
Matlock was also gracious in his departure, expressing appreciation to the Commission and City Administrator Ben Medina.
“Thank you for the opportunity to work at the Rio Hondo Police Department,” Matlock said in his letter. “I have learned lot during my time here. I truly appreciate your guidance and friendship during my time employed.”
The now-former chief did not, however, identify cause for his resignation.
“…The time has come for me to move on,” Matlock wrote. “This letter is to formally announce my resignation from the Rio Hondo Police Department. My last day will be Sept. 16, 2014. Please let me know what I can do to make my final time here a productive experience.”
The process of finding a new chief has extended longer than officials initially anticipated as it was indicated in early October that the Commission hoped to find a replacement for Matlock within two to three weeks of that time.