Port St. Lucie mayor's 'interference' causes Novick to withdraw from police chief consideration

—One of three candidates for police chief has withdrawn from the race, citing Mayor JoAnn Faiella didn't want him leading the Police Department.

Craig Novick, township manager in Franklin, N.J., said he decided to give up his bid for police chief noon today after Faiella called members of his township council questioning his ability to negotiate with unions.

Faiella called the council at about 3 p.m. yesterday, three hours after Novick said City Manager Greg Oravec called him and sent him an employee contract for the chief's position.

Novick said Oravec and him had discussed his start date and when he would undergo certification training.

In a letter formally withdrawing, Novick told Oravec one reason he no longer wanted the chief position was because Faiella crossed the line beyond the scope of her responsibilities.

Port St. Lucie, according to its city charter, is not a strong mayor form of government and all administrative duties are carried out by the city manager.

Oravec said Tuesday although he didn't formally offer Novick the job, he did distinguish Novick as his favorite. He said he sent Novick a basic contract to see if there were any issues.

"I told him he was my kind of guy and we shared the same core values," Oravec said.

Oravec said he would release more information as to what transpired with Novick in a detailed memo to City Council, city staff and the public.

Since the list of 48 chief applicants was whittled down to three candidates in May, Oravec has been adamant about making the selection process as transparent as possible to city residents.

"This is not where transparency stops," Oravec said. "I promise to tell council, team Port St. Lucie and the public."

This story will be updated when more information is available.

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