Is Chief Hurtt California-bound?

June 12, 2009 6:20:36 PM PDT
There are reports that Houston Police Chief Harold Hurtt is one of three finalists for the same job in San Francisco. If he were to leave, that would mean that Houston could potentially be needing a new chief, a new mayor, and a new superintendent for one of the nation's largest school districts at roughly the same time.

A government's basic responsibilities are three-fold: Keeping us safe, educating our children and making sure our neighborhoods are clean and livable. And if Chief Hurtt chooses to leave when Mayor Bill White is term-limited out of office, that will mean Houston will see new leadership in the city's largest department and the city itself.

Add to that the retirement of HISD Superintendent Abe Saavedra and Houston is in for some big changes.

"It does look like the next year is going to be pretty important around city hall," said KTRK Political Analyst Richard Murray.

Murray says the biggest change of all will be the mayor.

"It's by far the highest visibility local elected official," said Murray. "The city's reach extends far beyond the city limits." While the new mayor will be the choice of Houstonians who vote on election day in November, the new superintendent and possible new chief would be appointed after nationwide searches.

"This economy is robust," said Danya McIntyre-Bogart with McIntyre & Youngblood Recruiting. "Houston is a very dynamic city."

McIntyre-Bogart runs a recruitment firm that handles national searches in a variety of professional fields and she says it can be complicated. But she adds that Houston is in a stronger position than many American cities and more desirable than most, and that attracts the best possible candidates.

"It is easy to attract people to this city for the culture, the dynamics, the cost of living," she said. "Houston just has a lot to offer."

The only thing constant is change and regardless of what Chief Hurtt does or does not do, we're still in for a lot of it over the next 12 months.

Chief Hurtt has not returned our calls for comment and the city of San Francisco mayor's office has not responded to either our phone calls or email requests for comment.

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