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Cochran Backs Off on Public-Safety Changes | News

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Cochran Backs Off on Public-Safety Changes
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Cochran is backing off partially on a plan to get rid of the city's police and fire chiefs.

Last week, city manager Raymon Gibson notified Police Chief Key McGuire and Fire Chief Glenn Lord that they'd be out of a job in two weeks.

He told them he planned to replace them with a city public safety director.

Since then, Gibson says reaction in town has been overwhelming and negative.

Instead, the city will appoint a task force to look at the budget and advise them on choices.

Gibson, who is Canadian, told 13WMAZ that he was criticized as an "outsider" and "hateful person" on social media as a result of the move last week.

Police Chief McGuire discussed the changes on Facebook, writing, "After 20 years of dedicated service to the City of Cochran and the Cochran Police Department, the city manager calls me into his office, under the pretense that we were going to go over the budget, and tells me in two weeks he is going to do away with my job. Instead of a Fire Chief and a Police Chief they are going to hire a Public Safety Director to do both jobs and thus save the city some money. Five years from retirement and they drop this bomb on me."

Gibson says the move would have saved the city between $50,000 and $70,000.

Of the three budgets proposed at Cochran's last city council meeting, the option creating the new position would have netted a $220,000 surplus.

The other two options, which would keep the two chief jobs in place had a $37,000 and $100,000 surplus, respectively.

Gibson says they will discuss the task force at their July meeting. That's also when Cochran will get a new mayor, Michael Stoy, who is a former Middle Georgia College president.  Gibson says Stoy will be involved in the final decision.

Follow Tom George on Twitter @thetomgeorge

 

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