Ferriday police chief to remain appointedPublished 12:04am Wednesday, June 13, 2012
FERRIDAY — The position of chief of police for the Town of Ferriday will continue to be appointed by the mayor — despite two aldermen’s wishes.
The board of aldermen voted 3-2 against an ordinance introduced by Alderman Elijah “Stepper” Banks that would have changed the town’s current policy to elect the town’s police chief, rather than appointed by the mayor.
While he does not vote on ordinances, Mayor Glen McGlothin attempted to lay out the pros and cons of each situation during a public hearing Tuesday evening at the board’s monthly meeting.
“I’ve always felt the police chief should be an elected position, because it takes out some politics from the mayor’s office, but the board voted against that tonight,” McGlothin said after the meeting. “You have to vote the way you feel.”
Ferriday Mayor-Elect Gene Allen highlighted what he said the major con of an elected police chief was — budget issues.
“If you have an elected police chief they set their own budget, and if that chief spends beyond his budget, he can go back, get more money and pay it off later,” Allen said. “The Town of Ferriday just can’t afford to do that.”
Ferriday Police Chief Johnny Evans said he was in favor of an appointed police chief and was pleased with the board’s vote.
“I think (an appointed police chief) is best for the Town of Ferriday,” Evans said after the meeting.
Currently, when the mayor of Ferriday takes office, he or she appoints three positions — chief of police, city clerk and town attorney.
But those appointees also have to be approved by the board of aldermen before taking office.
Banks said, the overall purpose of an elected police chief was to see a higher caliber of law enforcement agents on the streets of Ferriday.
“When you elect a chief and have an upgrade to that position, you’re going to get an upgrade to the best leadership possible,” Banks said after the meeting. “I think the board made a decision without thinking about what’s best for the Town of Ferriday.”
And despite the board’s vote, Banks said he will continue to stand behind the mayor and whomever he selects as police chief.
“I’m always going to support the mayor and the police chief, no matter what,” Banks said. “But I’m not going to give up on this issue.”
Allen will make a recommendation to the board of aldermen on his police chief candidate, which would become effective as of July 1 if approved.
In other news from the meeting:
- An amendment to the current water rates ordinance that would change reconnect fees from $25 to $105 was introduced.
McGlothin said the goal was to match the reconnect fee to the deposit fee, which is $750, and to give citizens more incentive to pay their bills on time.
The amendment will be discussed at the board’s next monthly meeting on July 10.