Racine police Chief Art Howell is a finalist for the top job with the Rockford, IL, police department.

“While I am honored to be considered as a finalist for this position, my personal ties, and commitment to the Racine community remains strong,” he said in an email statement.

Howell’s contract is up April 1 – and he said he doesn’t really want to leave Racine – but a new one hasn’t yet been extended to him. The city’s Police and Fire Commission meets Friday in closed session to discuss the contract, a point Howell confirmed in his statement.

“I have a strong desire to remain in Racine to build on the success we’ve achieved during the past four years,” he continued. “In the absence of a new contract however, my future plans remain undefined at this time.”

Ian Linnabary is the board secretary for the Rockford Board of Fire and Police Commissioners, and he confirmed for The Journal Times that Howell is one of three finalists for the vacancy created by former Chief Chet Epperson.

Howell makes $110,968 in Racine, and Epperson was paid $140,132, the story continues.

The other candidate finalists include Rockford’s deputy chief and a member of the Elgin, IL, command staff.