Silverhill police chief hiring delayed after tie vote

By John Underwood / john@gulfcoastmedia.com
Posted 4/10/18

SILVERHILL, Alabama — Silverhill Council members blocked the appointment of Sgt. Michael Taylor as the town’s new police chief, at least temporarily, after a tie vote at the Town Council meeting …

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Silverhill police chief hiring delayed after tie vote

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SILVERHILL, Alabama — Silverhill Council members blocked the appointment of Sgt. Michael Taylor as the town’s new police chief, at least temporarily, after a tie vote at the Town Council meeting Monday, April 2.

Mayor Tim Wilson recommended hiring Taylor at the end of the April 2 meeting.

“We have received a few resumes and I don’t think anyone is as qualified for the position (as Taylor),” Wilson said.

Council member Tonie Norden made a motion to hire Taylor as chief, which was seconded by Steve Brooks. Norden, Brooks and Wilson voted for the measure. Mayor Pro Tem Jared Lyles, council members Bert Jones and Wayne Gruenloh voted against, and the measure failed to pass because of a 3-3 tie.

“This has nothing to do with (his qualifications for the position),” Lyles said. “Here we are again. This wasn’t on the agenda. We have not had a chance to look at any of the resumes and you’re asking us to vote on something without giving us all the information you have available.”

Following the vote, Attorney Josh Myrick, who represents the town in legal matters, said the item could be put on the agenda and voted on at the council’s next meeting, April 16.

Taylor has served as the town’s acting chief since the resignation of Kevin Brock on Jan. 25.

After asking Myrick if the town could hire a part time officer rather than hire a chief at its Feb. 5 meeting, the council voted to advertise for the position at its Feb. 19 meeting after it was determined that the town must have a police chief.

An additional part-time officer has also been hired following a plea by Taylor and other members of the police department at the March 5 meeting.

“He has worked out great,” Taylor said at the April 2 meeting. “We have not had any overtime since he was hired.”

Taylor also addressed council members at the April 2 meeting regarding the police department’s Standard Operating Procedure. Town prosecutor Mike Dasinger was supposed to review the SOP and present a report to council members. The item has been on the agenda for the last two meetings, but has been tabled because Dasinger has not been able to attend the meetings.

“I have no problems with the SOP as a whole, but there are some things on it that simply don’t apply to our department,” Taylor said. “Every department has to operate with an S.O.P. and essentially, we are violating ours every day because of those items. Something needs to be done to fix it.”

In other business April 2 the council voted to table a resolution to enter into an agreement with Civil Southeast regarding the running of 8-inch water lines and replacing of 2-inch water lines with 8-inch waterlines along East Boulevard.

Engineers met with council members at the March 19 meeting saying that the town could pay for the project by increasing water rates by $1 three times over a 2-year period.

That, coupled with an increase in water customers over that time, would go a long way toward paying for the project, they said.

The projected $540,000 project would require a loan from the town which would close probably in January 2019 with the first payment not due until January 2020, said Silverhill Superintendent of Utilities Scottie Smith.

In other business April 2, the council:

•Approved a resolution to surplus the 2010 Crown Victoria used by the police department.

•Approved an amendment to an ordinance regarding the town’s wrecker system rotation.

•Met briefly in executive session with Myrick and another attorney to discuss pending litigation.