The odds that Lansing Police Chief Mark Alley will be heading to Grand Rapids to become the next U.S. Marshal of the Western District have dropped from slim to nearly none.
But don't cry for Alley. Like the underdog in the championship game, he was happy to be in it.
“It was certainly an honor to be considered,” Alley said. “I am confident that I represented myself in a professional manner throughout the process.”
And as for the man who got the recommendation for the nomination, Alley is just as thrilled for state police Col. Pete Munoz as if he had gotten the nod himself.
"Col. Pete Munoz is a friend of mine — I couldn't be happier for him and his family," he said, adding that he thinks Munoz will do a wonderful job.
After news that Gov. Jennifer Granholm had lent her support to Col. Pete Munoz, head of the state police, Alley seemed to be the dark horse candidate for the job, at best. Now, Munoz has all but wrapped up the job, having received the recommendation of the vetting committee and U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Michigan, who put together the committee. All that stands between the Munoz and the shiny silver star is the stamp of approval from President Barack Obama and a U.S. Senate confirmation hearing.
With the changeover in administrations at the federal level, most U.S. marshal and U.S. attorney holdovers from the George W. Bush years are being ousted in favor of Democrat-picked candidates. There are 94 districts in the U.S. and each has its own marshal and attorney. Even with some attorneys and marshals retaining their posts in the changeover, the Obama administration has a full plate of appointments to make, making it unlikely that the president would overrule the vetting committee and Levin.
News of Alley's application to become the U.S. marshal of the Western District was leaked in mid-April. After several media outlets caught wind of the potential career change for Alley, who has been Lansing Police Chief since 2000, the top dog released a statement to the press acknowledging his application and said he would no longer be speaking about it. He asked the media to respect the process and allow it to play out.
That process included appearing before a vetting committee pulled together by Levin. Alley had received letters of recommendation from Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero and former mayor David Hollister.
Some sources speculated that not having the backing of a statewide power, like Granholm, harmed Alley's chances. Other sources said his statement to the press put off the committee, though it was impressed by Alley’s record and performance. Alley said he doesn't know why he wasn't chosen.
"I have no idea what went into their decision-making. It certainly was not relayed to me," he said.
Alley joined the Lansing Police Department in 1986 and worked his way up from sergeant to lieutenant to captain until he became chief in June 2000. Some of Alley’s high points include creating the H.O.P.E. Scholarship Program and manning the city’s drive to install surveillance cameras in trouble spots.
Asked if he was disappointed to be passed over for the position, Alley echoes back to that "just happy to be here" theme.
"I worked hard to put myself in a position to do well in process, and I think I did that," he said.