ROCKLAND — City Manager Tom Luttrell announced Thursday, June 9, the city will start the search process for a third time to hire a new police chief.

The first two attempts resulted in no one being hired for the post that has been vacant since Christopher Young left in November 2021. Joel Neal has served as interim chief for the past eight months.

In the first round, the city manager offered the job to an outside candidate who declined the offer. The manager has not released the name of candidates. Sources familiar with the search say the job was offered to Special Agent Brian Pellerin of the federal Department of Health and Human Services.

In the second round, the Personnel Advisory Board declined to certify former Chief Young or interim Chief Neal, but certified one candidate — Rockland Police Officer Michael Izzy, according to sources with knowledge of the Board’s action.

The manager cannot nominate a candidate to the City Council unless the Personnel Board certifies the person, according to a city ordinance.

The manager said he wants the Maine Chiefs of Police to act as a head hunter for the city. Once it submits recommendations, he hopes to have a police chief in attendance with the personnel board to interview finalists.

Rockland had not hired a police chief from outside its ranks in more than 50 years until it hired Bruce Boucher in 2005. Boucher stayed on as chief until 2018 when Young was promoted to the top post.

The city’s search for a chief comes as the department has seen a departure in the past month of two sergeants — Sgts. Ken Smith and Scott Solorzano. Solorzano left for the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office and Smith to the Thomaston Police Department.