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Parker under "Commitment", not Contract

Parker declines to elaborate, saying he does not want to discuss "personnel issues." But, he adds, residents should not be concerned about his commitment to the post and his resolve to stay in Richmond.

Jamison — who himself is not under contract — says the issue is a small one. Parker has signed an agreement that "has established terms of employment indefinitely," Jamison says. Such an agreement is different from a contract only in that there is no time frame specified. "There isn't much difference really," he says. "Even if he had a contract, he could leave."

The bottom line, Jamison says: "We anticipate that Chief Parker will be here for a very long time."

Contract discussions were ongoing when Parker was sworn into office on Aug. 1, although he had agreed to an annual base salary of $128,000. One of the sticking points in the negotiations, according to a source, has been Parker's retirement package, an important issue because typically police chiefs are mobile and accrue benefits as they move from one post to another.

Jamison says there are no outstanding issues with Parker's terms of agreement.

Good thing. Parker marked his first 100 days as chief with a press conference on Nov. 8.

In a post-conference interview, Parker says he and Richmond Commonwealth's Attorney David Hicks are working to improve cooperation between their two departments.

They have created a "Quality Improvement Team," made up of four senior deputies in the prosecutor's office, four majors from the police department and Deputy Chief Theresa Gooch.

The team's mission, Parker says, is to improve the relationship between the two offices, seek efficiencies and create a venue for problem-solving. "We have to have a productive and efficient relationship," he says. — Jason Roop

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