Florala names new acting chief

Published 12:48 am Tuesday, November 25, 2008

For the next month, Florala will have a new acting police chief.

Chris Jackson was appointed Monday as city’s chief until Dec. 22 or until a new permanent chief is hired.

Mayor Robert Williamson said Jackson has been acting as chief since the resignation of Capt. Mark Anderson on Nov. 12. For almost two years, Florala has been without a permanent police chief after Bruce Maddox resigned from the position in April 2007. Anderson had been serving as acting chief since then.

Williamson previously stated one of his first official action items would be to initiate the search for a new chief. The position was advertised Nov. 12 through Nov. 23, and applications will be accepted through Dec. 3. Williamson said the council will narrow the applications to three final candidates by Dec. 10. A public meeting to introduce each of the candidates will be scheduled between Dec. 11-15, and the final decision will be announced on Dec. 22.

Earlier this month, the council voted not only to advertise for a new police chief but also for a city clerk. A new clerk is expected to be named in the coming weeks.

Additionally, it was announced Monday that Florala would see its first economic development in nearly a year in the form of a new clothing store.

Bonnie Brown, public relations and marketing director for Florala Utilities, made the announcement before the start of the city’s regular council meeting.

“This is something that has been a long time coming for Florala,” Brown said. “When you ask people in town, one of their main complaints is that there is nowhere to buy clothes and shoes.

“Well, Florala will now have a clothing store,” she said. “It will open in January. It will have men’s, women’s and children’s clothing and the owner has assured me it is new clothing.”

Brown said she plans to meet with the new proprietor and his wife in the coming days to help them solidify their business plan.

“He needs input on styles and what people here are interested in,” she said. “We’re going to be meeting this week so that we can get a better grip on things. We can’t have $100 blouses and things like that. (The merchandise) has to be in our price range.”

Brown said the business would be located in the old Tri-Cities Emporium building located next to Cox’s Hardware.

Williamson expressed the city’s thanks on behalf of Brown’s efforts to bring new business to the city.

“We know you’ve worked really hard and you should be commended,” Williamson said. “We need to encourage everyone to shop Florala when possible and spend those dollars here.

“Someone asked me a while back in an interview if I was like (President-elect Barack) Obama who was looking to bring change,” he said. “I told them we weren’t interested in just change, we want their dollars, and I think this business will help us accomplish that.”

It is unknown how many employees the new business will utilize.

In other business, the council:

reappointed John Garner to a four year term as the city/county representative on the Florala Airport Authority Board.

declared surplus two street department vehicles — a 1989 Dump truck and a 1989 loader backhoe.

discussed an ordinance establishing a reserve police officer force.