Harpersville makes internal changes

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The Harpersville Town Council decided recently not to renew the contract of Fire Chief Philip Hamrick but left the contract of Police Chief Paul Brasher open.

The positions were the subject of a special called meeting held at Town Hall last Wednesday.

When contacted for comment, Harpersville Mayor Theoangleo Perkins said both men&8217;s previous appointment had been for just one year. He explained that when the current Town Council took office, members felt they needed more time to make a decision regarding these officials.

When asked why a special meeting was necessary, Perkins stated, &8220;This emergency meeting to address the appointments of the fire and police chiefs was called to put an end to speculation and uncertainty that has caused anxiety and distractions within the departments.

&8220;If the issue of these appointments were left for a couple of more weeks, it could damage the effectiveness of the departments.&8221;

According to Town Clerk Joyce Robertson, Councilman William Rayfield made a motion not to re-appoint Hamrick which passed with a 4-0 vote with two councilmembers abstaining.

Voting in favor of the motion were councilmembers Deborah Logan, William Rayfield and Janet Gill and Mayor Perkins.

Abstaining were councilmembers Beverly Oden Johnson and Shirley Middleton.

According to Robertson, a motion by Gill to appoint Capt. Barry Adair as interim fire chief was approved unanimously.

Robertson said Logan made a motion not to re-appoint Police Chief Brasher, but the motion died for lack of a second. Rayfield made a motion to re-appoint Brasher for one year, which also died for lack of a second.

Perkins said that leaves the position of police chief up in the air.

He said the chief would serve until he is re-appointed or until another police chief is appointed.

Perkins said Adair has served with the fire department for several years.

The Town Council unanimously hired Philip Hamrick, shift assistant chief of the Childersburg Fire Department to serve as its new fire chief in August 2004.

He had 26 years experience in fire service at the time, was a certified fire officer, a certified fire instructor and a paramedic with degrees in emergency medical service, fire scene and fire service management.

When contacted for comment Hamrick said, &8220;I did everything that the council asked me to do. They chose to side with a group of disgruntled employees and not renew my contract.&8221;

Brasher has served as chief of police for Harpersville since August 1991 and recently completed 80 hours of certification through the Alabama Association of Chiefs of Police.

He declined comment