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Police officer pay under fire in Douglasville
by Bill Baldowski
July 30, 2014 01:33 PM | 2688 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Douglasville’s city manager and police chief have begun meeting about issues surrounding the recruitment, employment and retention of officers.

This followed last week’s special called meeting of the city council regarding the concern some city officials had about Chief Chris Womack’s statements to area media that many of his officers were leaving because current salaries were not competitive with other area agencies.

During that meeting, which reportedly was called to discuss possible disciplinary action against the chief, 25 Douglasville residents addressed the council in support of Womack.

Council members then met in executive session and announced no action was taken on the issue.

City Manager Bill Osborne, who said he was comfortable with the council’s decision, added he spoke with Womack and the two would work together “to deal with the issues we have in terms of police recruitment and retention.”

Osborne said the council had authorized a city employee salary study a few months ago.

“When we have the results of that study, which is essential for us to have when we discuss any salary issues, we will look at what salary adjustments might be needed,” he said.

“After we have reviewed the study and have made sure the city has the funds available to make salary adjustments, we will work on how any salary adjustments would be phased in.”

Although Womack has made no public statement with regard to the public support he received at the council meeting, he appeared moved by it.

Many of those addressing the council said they had worked personally with Womack on fundraisers and other community events and said he has been an asset to the city.

Ned Fowler, who addressed the council, later said its decision to take no action on the police chief’s job status “was ultimately resolved with professionalism and wisdom.”

“Retaining Chief Womack was the right thing to do,” he said. “This issue, I feel, had been blown out of proportion along with some misunderstanding between the parties.”

Fowler said he was thankful the council “slowed down, took a deep breath and let its wisdom prevail.”

“I feel Mayor [Harvey] Persons exhibited a lot of professionalism in allowing the community ample time to communicate their feelings at the meeting,” he said.

“The council needed to know the quality of our chief, that they themselves appointed, and the effect he has had on our community.”

Douglasville resident Randy Crofts described Womack as “a cut above your average chief and is very involved in the Douglasville community.”

He said that it is through compromise that “things get done.”

“Chief Womack lives for this job and has earned this job,” Crofts said.

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