Port St. Lucie police chief candidate backs out, city sends two other finalists rejection letters

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - Former Port St. Lucie police chief candidate Craig Novic says Mayor Joann Faiella overstepped her bounds, so he decided to reject the job.

Faiella admits she called council members and the deputy mayor in Franklin, New Jersey, where Novick is the township manager. She  says she asked about Novick's communication skills.


"I didn't do anything wrong. If I had to do it all over again, I would do the same thing," Faiella said.


The mayor said she wanted to find out more information so she could make a fair recommendation to Port St. Lucie city manager Greg Oravec. It's Oravec who ultimately chooses the next chief. 


"I'm not the type of mayor who's going to just sit back in the corner and push papers," said Faiella. "I was elected by the people. I have a voice."


Novick says the mayor was out to get him. He says his co-workers were taken aback by her negative attitude over the phone. 


"The straw that broke the camel's back is when my deputy mayor told me he thought she was on a witch hunt," said Novick.


So Novick backed out of the bid, even though the city manager had already sent him a contract to review. 


"I'm devastated. I really thought we had a situation where I was going to be able to come to Port St. Lucie," said Novick.


Novick says the mayor's calls were a violation of the city's government setup. This is not a strong mayor city. 


However, the city attorney for Port St. Lucie stands by Mayor Faiella, saying she did nothing wrong.


Today, the city sent the two other police chief finalists letters saying they did not get the job.


Novick says he doesn't know what's next for him. A Port St. Lucie spokesman says he's not sure what's next for the police chief search, either. 



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