Fort Myers Police Chief Derrick Diggs, whose contract with the city expires in late summer, has been eliminated from contention for chief of police in Columbus, Ohio.
Despite being designated as one of four finalists, Diggs was not among the three candidates who were invited to be interviewed by Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther, who will pick that city’s next chief, The Columbus Dispatch confirmed Friday.
Diggs’ contract with Fort Myers expires Aug. 16 but is renewable for an additional two years by agreement of the chief and the city.
Ginther had previously eliminated any local candidates for the job to replace a chief who had been appointed in January 2019 but was forced to resign four months ago.
Diggs was a finalist for the position and participated in a televised town meeting in which the four finalists answered questions posed by a moderator.
A Columbus television station reported that Diggs was eliminated because other candidates were considered to “better represent” what Ginther “wants from a chief.”
Mayor Kevin Anderson said Friday that the reappointment of Diggs will be up to incoming City Manager Marty Lawing, who was appointed in late April.
Lawing plans to assume his duties in Fort Myers on June 7.
Diggs was among 34 candidates who applied for the position and continued as a candidate as the field was culled, first to nine and then four candidates.
Three other finalists for the Columbus job participated in the public forum. They include Elaine Bryant, deputy chief in Detroit; Avery Moore, assistant chief in Dallas; and Ivonne Roman a former chief of police in Newark, New Jersey, who now works as police relationships manager for the Center for Policing Equity in New York City.
In case you missed it: Making FMPD part of Lee Sheriff’s Office dies with no support
Diggs’ application came as a complaint concerning Diggs’ use of a city-issued credit card for meals and a satellite radio service remains pending with the Florida Commission on Ethics.
The ethics commission found probable cause to move the ethics complaint to the state Department of Administrative Hearings for consideration of potential sanctions.
In pursuing allegations of ethics violations, the ethics commission uses an advocate from the attorney general’s office to pursue the case before the state Department of Administrative Hearings
In Diggs’ case, however, at the request of the attorney general’s office, the matter was sent back to the ethics panel. An administrative law judge signed an order relinquishing jurisdiction in the case.
Kerry Stillman, assistant executive director of the ethics commission, said the Diggs matter will not be on the agenda for the commission’s regular meeting next month.
Neither Diggs’ lawyer nor the attorney general’s office has requested that the matter appear on the ethics commission agenda.