John W. Rhoads, 43, the former Prince George's County police chief whose retirement with a disability pension aroused controversy when he sought a new job, asked the county yesterday to reevaluate his condition.
A county official said he expected a decision on granting the request would be made by the end of the week.
Rhoads' unusual move apparently takes him out of the running for the post of chief deputy sheriff in Orange County, Fla., a job for which he had been considered as a top contender.
In a letter asking reevaluation by the Prince George's Disability Review Board, Rhoads said recent publicity about his seeking the job in the central Florida county caused him and his wife "some concern," according to board chairman William R. Brown Jr.
Rhoads, who retired two months ago with a tax-free $29,700 disability pension after pleading a back injury, could not be reached for comment.
Orange County Sheriff Melvin G. Coleman, with whom Rhoads discussed the new job, said he understood Rhoads was concerned by suggestions that some impropriety may have been involved in his disability retirement.
In the light of Rhoads' request for reevaluation and the likelihood the process may take several months, Coleman said, "We mutually agreed [that] . . . I should at least take a hard look at some of the other candidates, even though I considered him as the top contender."
That decision, reached yesterday morning in a telephone call between the two men, Coleman said, made it unlikely Rhoads would get the number two post in the 800-member Orange County department.
"The whole thing is a shame," Coleman said. "I consider John Rhoads an outstanding candidate."
When Rhoads' interest in the Florida job became known last week, the former chief drew sharp criticism from several members of the Prince George's County Council. They asserted that they granted him a 70 percent disability pension because they accepted his explanation that his back injury made it impossible for him to function in a demanding job.
"It makes a mockery of the system," Councilman Floyd E. Wilson Jr. said then. A pension not based on disability would provide 50 percent of salary.
County officials said that Rhoads is not prohibited by retirement laws from taking a new position. He contended that the Florida job differed from his work here in that it meant being an administrator rather than a patrol officer or chief.
"I don't think his injury would hinder him in his work here at all," Coleman said in an interview last week.
Rhoads said last week that his four-year-old back injury, which forced him to miss most of his last two months of work in Prince George's, had "improved 100 percent."
He said the problem "is still there," but "the pain has improved considerably . . . "
Brown said that if Rhoads' request for a new examination is granted, he knew of no requirement that the board be governed in its findings by the results of the previous evaluation.