Jacobs named interim chief

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 26, 2004

As of Nov. 1, the City of Selma will have a new police chief as well as a new code enforcement officer, a new tax and licenses inspector, a new building inspector and a new director of general services.

Selma Mayor James Perkins Jr. made the announcements during Monday’s Selma City Council meeting.

Perkins noted, that with the exception of Tax and License Director Martha Jackson and Code Enforcement Officer Henry Hicks, the former department heads will return to their previous positions.

Email newsletter signup

Perkins put Hicks in charge of General Services and Jackson, Perkins said, has expressed a desire to retire.

“These are shifts in responsibility,” Perkins said. “Chief Green will go back to his former position of Lieutenant and will be assigned responsibilities commiserate with the position by the (new) chief.”

The changes came two week after the City Council granted the mayor’s request to have appointment powers restored to the office.

The appointment powers were a hot election issue as the mayor and his supporters wanted the powers to be in the hands of the mayor, similar to most other Alabama cities.

However, the powers in Selma had been in the hands of the city council for all but a short time when former Mayor Joe T. Smitherman wrested them away from the council only to give them back under pressure from the community.

The council approved a resolution granting the power to choose department heads at the previous city council meeting.

The new chief, at least on an interim basis, will be retired former Assistant Chief Robert Jacobs.

Jacobs, who retired under what he called political “whims” in January, will serve as chief while Perkins conducts a “nationwide” search.

“I would like to bring to the remembrance of the council and the citizens, I made a recommendation that the council not appoint a chief (when Green was hired). But appoint an assistant chief.

Then, to facilitate a restructuring of the department, initiate a national search for chief,” Perkins said. “That’s what I recommended then and that’s what I’m going to do now that I have the power to do it.”

Several council members expressed concern over the fates of the former department heads, like Green who is apparently within two years of retirement.

“I am concerned about the people who were in these positions,” Council President George Evans said before Perkins explained the shifts in responsibility. “I hoped that something could have been established to allow Chief Green to do two more years to retire from the position.

I supported his being there and felt strongly he was doing a good job.”

Evans added that he has nothing against Jacobs, just that he was expressing regret that things didn’t work out for Green.

“I respect the powers of the mayor,” Evans said. “He didn’t have to come to us and say anything.

I just wish it could have that could have been resolved and worked out.

Council members Bennie Ruth Crenshaw and Cecil Williamson also thanked the mayor for keeping the council apprised of the changes, even though he was not required.

“I just think the way it was brought about, really was a benefit to the city,” Crenshaw said.

Williamson also expressed regret that things with Green did not work out better, saying he would have liked to seen the former chief allowed to stay in the position until he retired, but Perkins responded by saying he has a city to run.

“I appreciate justice and mercy, but this is about management,” Perkins said.

The other changes included:

Bringing former Code Enforcement Officer Henry Hicks to the Director of General Services.

Making Daryl Moore the Code Enforcement Officer

Making Roosevelt Goldsby Tax and Licenses Inspector

Making Finis Harris will be interim building inspector.

Perkins said more changes could come in assistant fire chiefs and assistant police chiefs, but he preferred to wait in the police department until the new chief is in place.

“I wanted to get the department heads settled and work with the department heads,” Perkins said.

Perkins also brought to the council’s attention that with the job changes, four of the five positions required pay changes to reflect the new positions.

Perkins said all of the salary changes are within the budgeted salaries for those positions in the 2003-2004 budget.

The Council approved the salary changes.

Harris and Moore received a salary of $41,204.08 each,

Hicks $40,000 and Jacobs received “an amount not to exceed the allowed retirement salary for individuals.”

Councilman Johnnie Leashore expressed an interest in discussing a raise for the City Clerk, Lois Williams.

Perkins said the clerk, treasurer Cynthia Mitchell and his assistant Sheri James would all receive consideration in the upcoming budget process.