Employee training discussed at council meeting

Published 6:50 pm Friday, March 22, 2013

Under a resolution passed Thursday by the Demopolis City Council, police officers who receive specialized training but then leave the department to work elsewhere within three years would have to repay some of that expense.

Police Chief Tommie Reese said there is nothing currently that would prevent someone from getting training and then leaving the department. He said other agencies might not even consider candidates until they get training.

“Demopolis has always been a training ground for people coming through,” Reese said.

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The resolution would allow the city to collect part of training expenses, which includes salary while the officer is away, the class costs and travel.

All continuing education does not constitute specialized training, Reese said. Some examples of specialized training would included K-9 or SWAT schools.

Under the measure adopted this week, anyone who leaves within one year of specialized training would have to replay 100 percent of the cost of those classes. That percentage goes down to 75 in the second year and 25 in the third.

“We don’t want to stand in the way of someone advancing their career, but we don’t want to be a revolving door,” said Mayor Mike Grayson. “It may sound a little punitive at first blush, but from a practical standpoint, it’s really not.”

The council discussed expanding the policy to the fire department and potentially other areas of city government in the future.

In other business, the council took the following actions:

•Ben Sherrod, who is helping to organize the Christmas on the River day parade, asked the council for $65,000 to expand the COTR warehouse.

Sherrod said COTR has outgrown the current building and needs to add on so the parade can be expanded.

“You see as good a parade as you will find in the state of Alabama or anywhere else around,” Sherrod said.

•Reappointed Freddie Armstead Jr., Diane Brooker and Stephen Morgan to the Industrial Development Board. The also appointed Gary Pinault to the seat that was held by Travis Burnham.

•Nominated Shawn Lomax, Sylvia Malone and Scott Stapp for an appointment to the Board of Adjustments. A vote is expected at the next council meeting.

•The council also tabled a resolution that would have opposed to pieces of legislation in the works in State House and Senate. Grayson said the legislation would prevent cities from being able to collect business license fees on people who rent residential properties.