Former St. Paul Police Chief William Finney has been selected from a pool of candidates to serve as an interim St. Paul City Council member until the end of the year.
Pending approval by the council next week, Finney, 66, will serve out the remaining 10 months of the term of Council President Kathry Lantry, who is leaving to become the city's Public Works director.
Finney, 66, who lives in the Highwood Hills neighborhood, will represent the Seventh Ward on the city's East Side.
"I'm a person who's very involved in public service for St. Paul, so I thought I would I apply," he said Thursday.
Finney will begin his term March 4 and serve until the end of the year, when a new council member elected this November will take office. As a condition of his appointment, Finney agreed not to run for the seat.
Mayor Chris Coleman issued a statement commending the council for appointing Finney, and said he looked forward to working with him.
"Having known Chief Finney for more than 20 years, I'm confident he will do great work for the city of St. Paul in the coming months," Coleman said.
Finney had been a career St. Paul police officer when he was appointed chief in 1992. He was the first African-American to become a police chief in Minnesota. As chief, Finney diversified the department and tried to make it more community-oriented. Tall and charismatic, he became one of the nation's most high-profile law enforcement officials.
He retired as chief in 2004, but that didn't end his interest in public office. In 2005, he was appointed to the St. Paul school board to fill out the term of Toni Carter, who was elected to the Ramsey County Board. A year later he ran for Ramsey County sheriff against incumbent Bob Fletcher, but lost by a narrow margin.
Finney said he wants to spend his time on the council improving communications between police officers and community members. He also wants to work on programs for younger residents, including expansion of recreational areas.
A City Council committee interviewed four others for the position:
• Tom Dimond, 65, a former St. Paul City Council member.
• Sarah Lechowich, 38, a faculty member at North Hennepin Community College;
• Mary Petrie, 52, an English and women's studies teacher at Inver Hills Community College;
• Andrew Trcka, 35, IT specialist at MnDOT.
Blair Emerson is a University of Minnesota student reporter on assignment for the Star Tribune.