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Published: Saturday, 7/1/2006

Navarre glad to be back

BY CHRISTINA HALL
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Mike Navarre, back behind the chief's desk at the Toledo police department, says he enjoys the job because it's 'fast-paced. There's never a dull moment.' He was ousted as chief Jan. 3 by Mayor Carty Finkbeiner and reappointed Tuesday. Though he admits the mayor is 'a difficult person to work for,' he will have 'no problems working for' Mr. Finkbeiner again. Mike Navarre, back behind the chief's desk at the Toledo police department, says he enjoys the job because it's 'fast-paced. There's never a dull moment.' He was ousted as chief Jan. 3 by Mayor Carty Finkbeiner and reappointed Tuesday. Though he admits the mayor is 'a difficult person to work for,' he will have 'no problems working for' Mr. Finkbeiner again.
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Heads are still spinning about this week's Toledo police chief shake-up.

And one question is on everyone's mind: Why did Chief Mike Navarre return to the job from which he was bumped six months ago by his boss, Mayor Carty Finkbeiner?

"It's a job I've always enjoyed. It's rewarding and challenging. I was interim executive director of the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, a position I really wasn't qualified to hold," the chief said.

"The fact of the matter is, at times, it was very boring. It was not the type of job I was suited for. Of all my options, I'm too young to not work, and I have a freshman in high school."

Chief Navarre, 50, returned to his old job after former Chief Jack Smith had a blowup with the mayor at a meeting Tuesday, stepped down as chief, and returned to the rank of captain.

Hours later, the nearly 29-year veteran received a call from city hall asking him if he'd be interested in the top cop spot. Then he called his wife.

"When I told her of the proposed offer to me, I think there was a long pause. She said, 'You're not serious?' and I said, 'Yes, I am serious. What do you think?' " he said.

The chief said the mayor is an "extremely difficult person to work for, and he will admit that." But he said he has "no problems working for Mayor Finkbeiner."

Chief Navarre said he and the mayor shook hands and wished each other good luck after a meeting Jan. 3 in which they reached an agreement that made the chief a deputy chief and Captain Smith chief.

Chief Navarre said he had conversations with the mayor since then, and on at least two occasions, Mr. Finkbeiner offered him a high-level position in his administration. He didn't feel comfortable taking the spot, which he declined to identify.

The chief said he probably would have stayed at CJCC, but thought about the police chief opening in Sylvania Township, which recently was filled. He did not apply for the position.

Before he became deputy chief in January, Chief Navarre said Lucas County Sheriff James Telb said he would hire him, but the chief declined the offer.

Chief Navarre said he will consider running for sheriff if Sheriff Telb doesn't run again. He said he won't run against Sheriff Telb because he has too much respect and admiration for him.

Chief Navarre has been busy this week with meetings, report reading, and deciding on changes and reassignments - but only one has occurred so far.

He promoted Capt. Don Kenney to deputy chief and assistant chief, making him the force's No. 2 man. Mr. Kenney previously served as deputy chief, but was demoted to captain when Captain Smith became chief.

Chief Navarre has talked with union leaders and said other changes are forthcoming, but declined to provide details.

He's comfortable with some of the changes the former chief made and will keep them in place for now, such as the gang/youth crime unit. He will evaluate other changes and decide if they work efficiently.

Simply put, Chief Navarre said he's happy to be back.

"It's fast-paced. There's never a dull moment," he said. "When there is, you have to enjoy it, because it won't last long."

Contact Christina Hall at:

chall@theblade.com

or 419-724-6007.



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