Assistant chief position under fire from city

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 27, 2004

A decision on eliminating the assistant police chief position has been put on hold for now.

After lengthy discussion at the Selma City Council’s Monday meeting, Council President George Evans said a motion made by Councilwoman Rita Sims Franklin to eliminate the position wouldn’t pass.

The position is currently held by Robert Jacobs, though he submitted his retirement letter Jan 19. His last day is Feb. 9.

Reasons for Jacobs’ retirement include his belief that at least five council members were planning on ousting him at Monday’s meeting.

Discussion on the issue began after Franklin &uot;put pencil&uot; to the position’s salary, which is about $30,000. &uot;We could save about $36,000 with added benefits,&uot; Franklin added.

Councilwoman Bennie Ruth Crenshaw, though, brought the discussion toward Jacobs’ reasons for retiring, which led to Evans relating the events of a Jan. 16 meeting between himself, Jacobs and Mayor James Perkins Jr.

According to Evans, Jacobs showed concern that he might be ousted by a council vote. Evans suggested that Jacobs meet with Police Chief Robert Green and work through issues brought up by them during an executive session late last year.

When Evans left the meeting he thought Jacobs would take time off and then return to his job and work through the situation with Police Chief Robert Green. &uot;The next thing I know, I get a call saying I got a letter saying he had retired.&uot;

Crenshaw said that once someone is told he could be fired, the embarrassment could cause him to leave his position. &uot;I have a problem that he was told five council members would vote him out,&uot; she added. &uot;I saw it as a forced retirement.&uot;

Councilman B.L. Tucker chimed into the conversation by stating he had spoken with Jacobs on Monday. &uot;He doesn’t want to go,&uot; Tucker said. &uot;He wants to stay. I said he didn’t have five votes against him. I’m not going to fire him.&uot;

When Councilman James Durry said that council members didn’t think respect was given to those with authority in the police department, and that that might have played a role in why circumstances occurred as they did, Perkins took to the podium.

Perkins continued that &uot;The damage has been done, and you can’t justify it. You can’t justify what’s been done.&uot;

Loud applause followed Perkins’ words.

Evans then said he didn’t think Franklin’s motion to eliminate the position would pass.

In other matters the council:

Voted unanimously to enter an executive session. Crenshaw made the motion, which Councilman Sam Randolph seconded. It is the council’s first executive session since Jan. 1.

According to Crenshaw, the executive session occurred to discuss the good name and character of a city employee.

Voted 7 to 2 to eliminate a secretary position with General Services. According to Franklin, about $20,000 will be saved. Council members Sam Randolph and Crenshaw opposed the motion.