By Ross Markman
Michael Shortell, former Democratic candidate for mayor of Havre, could become a member of the city's police commission tonight. Mayor Bob Rice, who defeated Shortell, said today he will nominate his former opponent for the position at tonight's City Council meeting.
The meeting is scheduled for 8 p.m. at City Hall. It will be preceded by a Streets and Sidewalk Committee meeting at 7 and a Finance Committee meeting at 7:30.
"It was an easy decision. I look at his credentials, his ability, his skills and his personality," Rice said of Shortell's nomination. "He'd be a real asset (to the police commission)."
The police commission's duties include interviewing potential candidates for the department, overseeing complaints, and acting as an advisory board for any disciplinary actions.
Before Shortell joins Charlie Floyd and Dick Bohen on the commission, the nomination must receive the council's approval.
"If they vote Mike Shortell out of the deal, I'm in trouble," Rice said, laughing. "We need a good man on there and I think Mike's the right man for the job."
Council president Richard Pierson said approval is likely.
"I don't think there's going to be any problem whatsoever with appointing Mike Shortell to the police commission," he said.
Shortell said he appreciates the nomination and has no ill feelings toward Rice, a Republican.
"(Rice) gave me a call and asked if I would be interested. I thanked him very much for thinking of me. I thought it was very gracious and very nice of him," Shortell said. "We've been friendly all along. I personally like him very much and I think he's doing a fine job."
Shortell, who was Havre's police chief for 13 years and has 32 years of policing experience, said his background in law enforcement will be a benefit to the commission. Shortell retired from the department in September 2000.
"I have no ill will towards anybody," he said. "(Rice) was duly elected. I support him 100 percent."
Added Rice, "The election is over. This is strictly because Mike and I both care about Havre. He's a wise choice."