City appoints Harrison to council, Allen to chief

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 2, 2005

Local businesswoman Barbara Harrison has been appointed to serve as District 3 representative on the Luverne City Council, taking the spot of Merrill Sport who vacated his position on the council in December to become the city's parks and recreation director.

Harrison, who owns Harrison Realty and is the wife of former mayor John Harrison, attended her first council meeting on Monday night.

"There was not a downtown business owner or a woman on the council," said Harrison. "I felt like there needed to representation on the council and that I could do a good job. I promise to serve my constituency to the best of my ability."

Mayor Joe Rex Sport agreed that Harrison was the best person for the job.

"We had several people interested in the position, but in the end we felt like Barbara was the top candidate," said Sport.

Along with Harrison, the council also has found itself a new police chief.

And it didn't have to look far.

Luverne police officer Paul Allen was appointed police chief, filling a position that has remained open since former chief Bob Davis' resignation in late November.

"Paul's been on the force for 18 years now and he was more than ready," said Sport. "We here on the council have every amount of confidence in Paul and the job he will do."

Originally from Bluff Springs in Coffee County, Allen joined the Luverne Police Department in 1986.

"What brought me here was church," said Allen, who attends Mt. Zion Baptist Church with his family. "That and because I have always loved Luverne, Alabama."

Now more than ever Allen wants the police department to aid the city in living up to its motto, that of being the "Friendliest City in the South."

"I'm a people person and we have an open door policy here," he said. "I'm looking forward to our officers working with the businesses and citizens of Luverne. I also want to see us come of age as far as technology goes. We need to continue to grow as a police department which is in line with the growth of Crenshaw County as a whole."

Allen is married to the former Jo Ann Nichols. They have two daughters, Jana (13) and Paige (11), who both attend Luverne City Schools.

In other business:

The council delayed a ruling on a possible re-zoning of 3.74 acres of land off Hwy. 29. Earlier this month, Dr. Alethea Gammage, owner of Crenshaw Animal Clinic had presented the council with proposal to re-zone that land, which she recently purchased, from R-S, residential farming, to B-3, business, for construction of a new animal clinic. The council referred the issue back to the Planning and Zoning Commission.

Residents have voiced concerns that a possible re-zoning will depreciate the value of their homes.

The council is exploring a possible non-smoking ordinance in public buildings and charged city attorney Mike Jones with drafting two versions of the law for future consideration. The council has yet to determine if this will be an absolute ban or if it will sent to a vote for the citizens of Luverne to decide.

Approved the elected officers of the Luverne Fire and Rescue Department which are as follows: Chief, Bill McManigle; Asst. Chief, W.A. Neal; 1st Captain, Drew Money; 2nd Capt. Jason McManigle; 1st Lieutenant, Doug Butts; 2nd Lt., John McManigle; Secretary/Treasurer, Kip Smith.