The wheels turn and the drama persists in Oakland over the ongoing effort to install a new police chief, and it's coming down to a battle of wills between the police commission and the mayor.

We learned late Tuesday that the Oakland Police Commission had settled on a new slate of four candidates for the chief of police job. They are former San Leandro Police Chief Abdul Pridgen, former Lubbock Police Chief Floyd Mitchell; Cincinnati Assistant Police Chief Lisa Davis; and Louis Molina, New York City's former Commissioner of the Department of Correction and current Assistant Deputy Mayor of Public Safety.

As SFNews pointed out earlier, each, with the exception of Davis, seems to have had had some sort of public scandal that led to their removal from former jobs — and Pridgen, who was already one of three candidates rejected by Mayor Sheng Thao in December, left that job under still mysterious circumstances that relate to some alleged misconduct.

All four candidates are set to be introduced to the public and to face questions from the public at a candidate forum on Thursday.

Now, as the Chronicle reports, Thao has announced she will be boycotting the forum Thursday, and the reason seems to be that two candidates she would have liked to see in the running aren't going to be there.

Thao says that she disagrees with how this process is being handled, and that the open candidate forum is making it more difficult to hire qualified candidates — specifically because they are still employed at other jobs in other cities, and they don't want to run afoul of their employers by publicly seeking other jobs.

Thao says that she has two well qualified candidates she's been "courting," per the Chronicle. One is a current police chief and one is a former police chief, both from other midsized cities. Both candidates took their names out of the running when they learned they would have to participate in this open forum before being hired.

The forum process, which was used under Mayor Libby Schaaf during the hiring process that led to LeRonne Armstrong being hired from within, has only happened once before since the Oakland Police Commission was formed in 2017.

Thao wrote a letter to the commission, formally announcing she would not participate in Thursday's forum and voicing her objections.

"A forum identifying candidates places those individuals at unnecessary risk with their current employers," Thao wrote, per the Chronicle. “It may also force Oakland to enter into a premature bidding war with an individual’s current employer if they feel strongly about retaining them."

Unlike in December, Thao has not rejected the four-candidate slate outright. Yet.

The seven-member police commission, which has three mayoral appointees, has not commented on the situation.

But it certainly sounds like Oakland is no closer to getting a police chief, over a year since Armstrong was removed.

And Thao remains the subject of a recall effort, just one year into her tenure as mayor.

Related: Oakland Police Commission Still Playing Politics, Unveils Latest Slate of Four Candidates for Chief


Image: @MayorShengThao via Twitter