partlycloudy
Monday July 6th, 2015 4:06PM

Baldwin 'lays off' entire police force

By Rob Moore Reporter
BALDWIN - Baldwin is not without law enforcement protection this weekend, but will be without its own police department until the new police chief and assistant chief begin work Monday.

Calling the brief special called meeting "a somber moment," Mayor Jerry Neace explained more about what happened during the seven-minute agenda.

"The city council basically laid off the patrol division and the investigative division of the Baldwin Police Department to reorganize and restructure, and to move the police department to a higher professional standard," Neace said following the meeting.

During the meeting, Councilmember Jeff Parrish read a media statement on behalf of the mayor and council.

Following that statement, the council voted 4-0 to proceed with the announced layoff of all officers in the department effective Friday. Councilman Larry Lewallen abstained from the vote, but gave no public reason for not voting on the issue.

"This is not an adverse personnel action," Neace said after the meeting. "We have good people here, and I hope they re-apply so that we can move forward with our new chief and assistant chief."

Asked after the meeting about not voting on the layoffs, Lewallen said he didn't have enough information to feel comfortable voting on the measure.

New Baldwin Police Chief Kevin Brooks and Assistant Chief Chad Nichols begin work Monday, Jan. 27.

In the meantime, officers from the Habersham County Sheriff's Office, Banks County Sheriff's Office and Cornelia Police Department will handle law enforcement in the city during the transition.

Neace said he believed the city had six full-time officers and at least that many part-time officers.

Any clerical positions in the police department, excluding Georgia Crime Information Center employees who fall under a separate budget, also were affected, Parrish said.

In its two-page media statement, released at the end of the meeting upon the vote of the council, a little history is given.

"Over the last several years, for various, unrelated reasons, the Baldwin Police Department has suffered through many changes of its department head, being the chief of police," the statement reads. "The changes in the department head have resulted in a lack of consistency in leadership and which has affected the police department, and which the city council believes needs to be addressed."

The employees that were laid off will receive any accrued time and benefits.

"In that no adverse disciplinary action has been taken against the affected employees, affected employees as laid-off employees will receive their severance pay in compliance with the Baldwin Personnel Ordinance, as well as any accrued time or benefits, and shall have the right like any other certified officer to apply for a position in the reorganized department," the statement reads.
© Copyright 2015 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Grass fire impacts rush hour traffic on 985
Rush hour traffic on I-985 was slowed by a grass fire Wednesay afternoon with one lane closed while firefighters fought the blaze.
10:19PM ( 6 months ago )
Judge denies motions to move, delay Tsarnaev trial
Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to overturn a judge's decision to not move his upcoming trial out of state.
10:02PM ( 6 months ago )
Sheriff: Man shot 2 on I-85 because he wanted car
A 22-year-old man shot two people who stopped to give him a ride on Interstate 85 in South Carolina on Christmas Eve because he wanted their car to drive to Georgia, a sheriff said Wednesday.
5:21PM ( 6 months ago )
Local/State News
Committee leaves transportation funding to lawmakers
Georgia will have to cover a $1 billion to $1.5 billion transportation funding gap to stay economically competitive, a committee of lawmakers is warning in a report issued Tuesday.
5:36AM ( 6 months ago )
US off war footing at year's end, but wars go on
Taking America off a permanent war footing is proving harder than President Barack Obama may have suggested.
6:13PM ( 6 months ago )
Politics
South Carolina lawmakers begin debate over Confederate flag
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina lawmakers on Monday began debating whether to bring the Confederate flag down outside the Capitol, starting with a pair of senators — one white, one black — whose...
3:44PM ( 21 minutes ago )
US stocks fall after Greek 'no' vote; European markets sink
NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks in the U.S. fell broadly in afternoon trading Monday following sharper drops in Europe and Asia as Greeks voted to reject the spending cuts and tax increases demanded by its cre...
3:27PM ( 38 minutes ago )
Two Forsyth teens busted for theft with social media post
Two teenagers are facing theft charges for stealing a sweet tea container from a South Forsyth Subway after a store employee identified them on a video of the incident posted on social media by one of the suspects.
2:00PM ( 2 hours ago )
Weekend rains delay work on Cleveland Bypass; closure set for next Monday
Weekend rains have delayed a planned road closure that was to start today in Cleveland.
By AccessWDUN staff
9:26AM ( 6 hours ago )
AAA: July 4 gas prices lowest in six years across the nation
Fourth of July gas prices in Georgia the lowest since 2010
By AccessWDUN staff
6:27AM ( 9 hours ago )