Clearwater City Manager Jennifer Poirrier has appointed Eric Gandy, a former deputy chief and current director of the city’s Marine and Aviation Department, as its next police chief, the Clearwater Police Department announced in a news release Wednesday.
Gandy, 56, joined the police department in 1991. He was a patrol major when he was promoted to deputy chief in 2017. In February 2022, he retired from the agency and became the city’s marine and aviation director the following month.
“I’m looking forward to leading a forward-thinking and highly regarded police department and the employees dedicated to public safety and the citizens we serve,” he said in the news release. “For three decades, the city and department provided me with the opportunity and support necessary to develop and succeed. I’m committed to doing the same for CPD employees and our future leadership.”
Gandy is replacing Dan Slaughter, who left the department earlier this year to become Clearwater’s assistant city manager after nine years as police chief. Deputy Chief Michael Walek has served as interim chief since Slaughter’s departure. He will resume his role as deputy chief after Gandy starts his term on July 29. Gandy will also be sworn in on July 31 during a Clearwater City Council work session.
“Eric’s reputation in the law enforcement community, among city staff, and our community makes him the ideal pick for chief of police,” Poirrier said in the news release. “In his over 30 years of service in the police department and his most recent role as director of the marine and aviation department, Eric has demonstrated an affinity for problem solving and giving attention to detail. His work ethic, experience, and dedication will be a compliment to an already exemplary Senior Executive Team.”
Previously, retired police and fire department employees could not collect both a salary and a pension if they were rehired to their agencies, though the rule did not apply if they were hired to other positions in the city. On June 8, the City Council changed an ordinance, making an exception so that retired employees from these agencies could continue collecting retirement benefits if rehired as a chief.
Though Poirrier said she did not propose the policy change “with anyone in mind,” the change allows Gandy to continue collecting his police pension and a city salary, as he did during his time as the city’s marine and aviation director.
In that position, Gandy has been collecting a salary of $127,666, as well as a pension. As police chief, his salary will be $166,200, plus a pension.