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Police chief is finalist for Lakeland job

Police Chief Sid Klein is one of seven finalists for his counterpart's post in Lakeland. Lakeland Assistant City Manager Barbara Lipscomb said Wednesday that Klein's name had been submitted to the city with the others by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), whichprovides executive-search services.

Lakeland officials hired IACP to find a replacement for Police Chief Ronald Menner, who is retiring Friday, Lipscomb said.

Klein could not be reached for comment Wednesday. His wife, Barbara, said her husband had been told that he was a finalist.

Klein, 48, announced Sept. 14 that he would seek employment in another city and resign his Clearwater post within six months.

Lipscomb said Klein and the other candidates are to come to Lakeland in two weeks for interviews and further evaluation. The city manager is to make a selection shortly thereafter, she said.

Two of the finalists are majors in the Lakeland Police Department, Lipscomb said. One is a major in the Orlando Police Department. The others are chiefs from cities in Colorado, New Mexico and Virginia, she said.

Clearwater City Manager Ron Rabun has said that Klein is not being forced to leave. Some Clearwater residents and officers have urged the chief to stay. Klein has said only that his reasons for leaving are personal.

Clearwater's department is larger than Lakeland's. It has 237 officers compared with 206 in Lakeland. Clearwater has a $15.6-million budget for this year, Lakeland's is $10.3-million.

Lakeland has a population of about 65,250, making it the largest city in Polk County. The city is smaller than Clearwater, which has a population of about 100,000.

The salary for the Lakeland post ranges from $47,000 to $66,000, Lipscomb said. Klein currently makes about $66,000.