Santa Barbara will be keeping its police chief.

Santa Barbara Police Chief Cam Sanchez was interviewed by the San Bernardino City Council in closed session Wednesday as one of two finalists being considered for the city’s police chief position.

After the panel interviews and a long discussion, the City Council voted 4-1 to recommend Phoenix Comm. Robert Handy for the job, according to the San Bernardino Press-Enterprise.

Sanchez reportedly did not apply for the job, but was solicited for the position by San Bernardino Mayor Pat Morris, after former Police Chief Keith Kilmer announced his intention to retire in March.

Sanchez told members of his department in August that he was being considered for the San Bernardino position.

Questions were raised about both candidates, but the San Bernardino Police Officers Association has been posting articles about Sanchez on its Facebook page for the past month, and the POA doesn’t appear to be a fan.

Sanchez, who was hired as Santa Barbara’s police chief in 2000, is grappling with the investigation of alleged embezzlement by the department’s longtime business manager. Karen Flores, a 22-year civilian employee, was arrested Aug. 5 on suspicion of embezzling more than $100,000 from the parking citation system. Search warrant documents show the theft could total more than $700,000.

He’s also been in the media spotlight for trying to get a controversial gang injunction through the court system and being sued along with his wife in a case related to unpaid bills from housing his mother-in-law.

Before his Santa Barbara post, Sanchez served as chief of the San Rafael Police Department and is a 13-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Giana Magnoli, Noozhawk Managing Editor

Noozhawk managing editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at