Ad Spot

Red Bay council wrangles over police pay, calls

By Staff
Melissa Cason
Franklin County Times
RED BAY- The Red Bay City Council voted unanimously to rescind action taken almost three years ago in regards to the Step Pay Plan for Red Bay Police officers during the regular council meeting held Monday night.
Councilman Bobby Nelson made a motion to take away the police department's ability to give officers a pay raise based on a departmental evaluation nearly three years after he seconded the motion to put the plan into action.
"I don't think one person should be able to make that decision [to give the officers a raise]," Nelson said during Monday's meeting.
However, on January 17, 2005, Nelson gave a second to Councilman Rayford Seahorn's motion to allow officers to receive a 25-cent pay increase twice a year based on their evaluations by their immediate supervisor.
The plan also gave officers the ability to roll over sick days for up to three months, and the option to receive compensation for vacation days instead of time off if they have earned more than one week of vacation.
The council unanimously passed the policy.
As of Monday's action, issuing raises to the force will become a matter of council approval. However, no mention was made to the sick days or vacation time policies during the meeting.
The council also voted to prohibit officers from leaving city jurisdiction without permission while on duty. This new action was based on calls Nelson said he received from citizens.
After the vote, Police Chief Pat Creel asked which councilmember his officers should call to get permission to transport a prisoner or to help the Sheriff's Department in various situations.
"Who do I tell them to call," Creel asked. "If we have to get permission to leave the jurisdiction, then who is going to take the calls."
No council member agreed to take the calls.
Creel also informed the council that without working with other law enforcement agencies, federal grants applications for the department would be refused. Grants are administered on the understanding that local law enforcement agencies would work together.
He also added that if Red Bay did not assist the county and other agencies when requested, the other agencies are not required to come when Red Bay needs help.
"The Sheriff's Department is not required by law to assist us inside the city limits because we have a police department," Creel said.
Councilman Ricky Holland spoke up and told his fellow members that they have made a hasty decision without all the facts.
"We need to be neighborly because we are going to need help," Holland said.
The council voted to rescind the previous vote, allowing officers to leave city limits under the understanding that Chief Creel would closely monitor them.
Creel agreed to tighten the reigns of his officers and make sure that they have a valid reasons for going outside of the jurisdiction limits.
In other business, the council voted to: