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City to appoint new chief

After a two-week delay it appears the city of Port Arthur is ready to name a new police chief — or at least that’s what was scheduled on the agenda revealed for Tuesday’s City Council meeting.

On the section entitled non-consent resolutions is “confirming the appointment of a police chief” for the meeting that is set for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday on the fifth floor of Port Arthur City Hall, 444 Fourth St.

Interim city manager Harvey Robinson was not in the office late Friday and unavailable to answer calls from The News about the issue.

A committee consisting of Robinson and assistant city managers Becky Underhill and Ron Burton were tasked with interviewing the four finalists, checking background information and making other contacts.

The final four candidates are PAPD Deputy Chief Martin “Bubba” Blitch, who has over 32 years service; Tim Duriso, supervisory special agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration, who had worked for PAPD for 13 years prior; John Leger, SWAT commander with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, who previously spent 18 years with PAPD; and Alton Baise, who has over 32 years experience in police work and is currently employed with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office as fugitive warrant officer and was previously employed with PAPD.

The appointment of a new chief was originally on the July 31 agenda but Robinson said he was still waiting for additional information needed to make the decision so the agenda item was canceled.

The new chief will replace former Chief Patrick Melvin, who abruptly resigned his post May 19 after less than two years with the department.