The city of Hinesville is looking to create a public safety director to oversee the police and fire departments.
City Manager Kenneth Howard presented the information during Thursday’s city council meeting.
He said creating the position was discussed during the 2017 city planning workshop. He said officials were going to draft a potential transition plan to implement a public safety director for review during the fiscal year 2018 budget process, but it didn’t get done.
The plan was to be considered upon the vacancy of the existing police or fire chief, due to retirement. Upon a retirement, the city would review the plan and determine whether to move forward with the new position or keep the existing structure and replace an outgoing chief.
Hinesville Police Chief George Stagmeier announced his retirement, effective March 1.
Since the transition plan was not completed, Howard recommended that staff move forward in drafting the plan. He also recommended the city appoint an interim police chief at the next city council meeting March 1.
Howard presented a questionnaire that was sent to cities similar in size and population to that of Hinesville.
The cities included Alpharetta, Buford, LaGrange, Grovetown, Monroe, Port Wentworth and Sylvania. All currently have a public safety director.
Of those cities, Howard highlighted LaGrange, whose police and fire departments are similar in size to Hinesville’s.
The pay range for LaGrange’s public safety director is between $121, 285 and 163,842 and reports directly to the city manager.
Howard said he would like to have the transition plan and job description done by the March 1 meeting date so it can be voted on.
Councilman Keith Jenkins said the city failed to complete the task because they didn’t take matter seriously.
“This was supposed to be done already,” he said.
Also Thursday, Mayor Allen Brown announced Howard would be getting a pay increase to reflect his position as city Manager. Howard was given a pay increase when he was named interim city manager in October.
That salary, $130,505.70 annually, remained in place after he was officially named city manager in January. Howard’s current salary is $137,152.
The council approved the revised ordinance for parking commercial vehicles and residential parking restrictions (Sec. 16-107) to regulate and restrict where motorists can legally stop, stand and park certain categories of vehicles in the city and establish rules for parking cars on residential front lawns.
The council also approved a leachate program for a 90-day trial period which would add income to the city’s water and sewer funds. Clay Sykes, of ESG Operations explained that leachate is the liquid that drains from landfills. Left untreated it could cause environmental hazards. Leachate is normally collected from landfills and treated so the liquid could be reused. Sykes said the Fort Stewart wastewater plant has out of service tanks and extra capacity that will allow them to treat the leachate at the plant and allow the city to charge for these services. Sykes said ESG would be responsible for the operation and all compliance issues. He thinks it will generate $100,000 per year for the water and sewer fund.