Posted by Steve Lettau on Mar 07, 2019

By Jeff Rumage, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

After a long selection process in which three commissioners resigned, the Mequon Police and Fire Commission has chosen Police Capt. Patrick Pryor to serve as the city's next police chief.

Pryor is expected to be sworn in on Friday, May 3. He will replace Chief Dan Buntrock, who will retire.

Pryor joined the Mequon Police Department in 1999. He served six years as a police officer, 12 years as a sergeant and two years as police captain.

He was one of three finalists under consideration for the police department's top job. The other two candidates were Racine Police Lt. Steve Wagner and Fort Atkinson Police Chief Adrian Bump.

Process disrupted

The police and fire commission's selection process was disrupted in October, when Police and Fire Commission Chairman Thomas Luzinski and Commissioner Charles Neman allegedly met privately with Pryor and promised him the chief job in exchange for the promotion of a specific sergeant.

Pryor reported the unethical behavior to city officials. The Ozaukee County District Attorney's Office charged Luzinski and Neman with violating the Wisconsin Open Meetings Law. Luzinski and Neman agreed to resign from the commission as part of a plea agreement.

Commissioner Rachel Pickett-Metz also resigned, although she was never accused of wrongdoing.

The Mequon Common Council appointed former Alderman John Hawkins, former Mayor and Alderwoman Connie Pukaite and former Plan Commissioner John Ridley to fill the three vacancies. Hawkins died shortly after his first meeting, and Robert Nuernberg was appointed to fill his seat.

The unethical behavior mired the public process, and commissioners had mixed feelings as to whether they should start the selection process over from the beginning. The commission ultimately decided that the phases of the process leading up to the finalist stage were sound and that there was no need to start over.