Council concerned about experience

Friday, October 23, 2009

A recommendation to hire a pastor as a policeman is stalled at City Hall. The City Council was polled by the city manager. Council members prefer someone with more experience and training.

Shaun Grant, 32, a police chaplain and associate pastor at the First Assembly of God, was endorsed on Oct. 7 by the Police Advisory Board. That panel is meeting in special session Monday at 5 p.m. in the City Courtroom.

The board will discuss whether Grant should be hired, according to City Manager Eddie Fuller and Police Chief Chuck Forbis. Grant was to succeed Officer Jennifer McDonald, an experienced officer from another state. She resigned after her mother was diagnosed with a fatal disease.

Fuller, who's authorized to make personnel decisions, received the Board's recommendation and conferred with the Council.

"A majority of the Council has a concern" about hiring Grant, said Fuller who'd suggested Forbis nominate another top applicant when McDonald left. That led to the recommendation.

"It got turned down by me," Fuller said. "I feel the majority of the Council feels he needs experience... It's costly to hire somebody with no training. I told the chief to put it on hold. We may have other options.

And, "Just because there's money in the budget (for training) doesn't mean we gave to spend it."