Knox County commissioners said Tuesday that the selection process for a permanent patrol administrator must continue and that the officer in the acting position simply can’t be given the job.

Commissioners made their views known at a meeting Tuesday morning.

Sheriff Donna Dennison had asked commissioners to appoint the acting patrol administrator to the position on a permanent basis.

In a Jan. 14 letter to the county commissioners, Dennison said that acting Patrol Administrator Lt. Timothy Carroll was capable and qualified for the job. He has held the post for two months since the sheriff unilaterally appointed him in an acting capacity after County Administrator Andrew Hart rejected her request to have Carroll named.

Chief Deputy Ernie McIntosh said the sheriff was not demanding the appointment but was asking commissioners since it is allowed under the county’s personnel policy.

Detective Sgt. Reginald Walker said most municipal departments and the state police promote from within their ranks and only turn to outside applicants when the top job becomes available.

Commissioners were in agreement, however, that since the job was advertised and the other candidate, who is from New Jersey, is qualified, the process should continue and both Carroll and the other candidate should be interviewed and screened by a hiring panel.

McIntosh said the sheriff was interested in stability in the department. Dennison made that known in her Jan. 14 letter to commissioners.

“I also feel that it is very important that we continue to provide stability in this agency in an unstable time with deputies having extended leaves of service to go serve our country,” the sheriff said in her letter. “Mr. Carroll will provide that stability with the relationships that he has already established throughout the county and continues to build.”

The previous administrator, Paul Pinkham, resigned Oct. 29.

Carroll’s father, John Carroll, served as chief deputy under Sheriff Dan Davey for several years, starting in 1993.

The county’s personnel policy states that all requests for hiring go to the county administrator who then makes a recommendation to commissioners. Another section of that policy, however, states that a department head can ask the commissioners to hire a person to fill a position.