Mayor Dana L. Redd announced this month that she was developing a state-required layoff plan under which the city's 270 officers would work their last day by Dec. 31. Field training for the county force - which, as currently planned, would protect only Camden - could start as early as October, county officials have said.
Ferguson will oversee the city's transition to a county force while "keeping the city's best interest in mind," Corrales said. In addition, Ferguson will coordinate and monitor quality-of-life aspects of the city that relate to public safety, such as crossing guards, emergency dispatch, and code enforcement.
Redd handpicked Ferguson under a no-bid contract.
"We needed a unique set of skills for something like this," Corrales said, adding that Ferguson was the go-to person.
Redd had been trying to get Ferguson to help Camden through its police transition for more than a year. She initially appointed Ferguson as acting police director on July 11, 2011. His duties as director would have included representing the city in regionalization meetings. He never got that far, though.
City Council rejected Ferguson's appointment the following day, citing an unneeded layer of bureaucracy and too much money - $100,000, which is the same amount he will receive as a consultant.
Among Ferguson's main critics last year was Council President Frank Moran, who was one of four Council members present at Monday's special meeting. All voted to accept Ferguson's contract.
Redd's office has argued that if the county has its own consultant, the city should, too. The $100,000 to pay Ferguson will come from the city's 2013 fiscal year police budget of $35 million, Corrales said.
The county hired Joe Cordero, a New York Police Department veteran and former director in the state Attorney General's Office specializing in gangs, guns and violent crime, this year to get the regional force up and running.
Among his duties is to set up the force's organizational structure.
"When we started seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, we said, 'Let's do this,' " Corrales said about getting Ferguson as a consultant.
The county also has hired former State Police Capt. Edward J. Fanelle as director of police services for the force, a permanent post. He will be paid $132,000, of which $60,000 will be paid by the state.
Contact Claudia Vargas at 856-779-3917, firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow on Twitter @InqCVargas. Read her blog, "Camden Flow," on philly.com.