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Hail to the (interim) Chief

As expected, HPD Chief Harold Hurtt has quietly slipped out the door in advance of Mayor-Elect Annise Parker taking the reins of the city. Until she names his replacement, here’s who will fill in.

Executive Assistant Chief C.A. McClelland will take over the reins at HPD, at least until Mayor-elect Annise Parker formally chooses the department’s next chief.

McClelland, 54, got the acting promotion because his name was next on a rotating list of executive assistant chiefs who fill in when the chief’s office is temporarily vacant — whether for vacation, illness, or any other reason, officials said.

“He (McClelland) was not chosen by either the mayor or the mayor-elect to be the interim chief,” said Patrick Trahan, a spokesman for White.

Doesn’t mean McClelland couldn’t be a contender for the job, but his is not a name that has been dropped as a potential successor.

Houston Police Officers’ Union president Gary Blankinship said rank-and-file officers are solidly behind Parker’s pledge to name an HPD officer to the top spot.

“I don’t think we can afford to lose six months to a year letting someone learn the job,” Blankinship said. “There are critical decisions that need to be made right now.”

Blankinship predicts Parker will make her decision by the end of January if not sooner.

“I know she considers that a very important appointment. I think she’s going to be very serious and do her due diligence. I also think she’ll move very quickly,” Blankinship said.

You may recall that Blankinship and the HPOU were not supporters of Parker; in fact, they all but accused her of plotting to hand the city over to the crooks during the runoff campaign. Funny how quickly bygones can become bygones, isn’t it?

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