Fairhope Police Chief questions Mayor's Public Safety Director appointment

Fairhope Police Chief questions Mayor's Public Safety Director appointment

The hiring of a first-ever Public Safety Director for the city of Fairhope is sparking controversy.

In an e-mail to the Mayor, Police Chief Joe Petties expresses his displeasure with the hire. We've learned today that since the email went out, Petties sat down with the mayor hoping to iron things out.

The email in question was sent to the Mayor in response to her hiring former Ethics Commission investigator Tony Goubil, the man the Mayor says is the perfect fit for Public Safety Director.

Caught off-guard by the hiring Chief Petties writes, "My department has been in an uproar." The chief says he stands by his e-mail to the mayor, sighting - "The chain-of-command has been completely undermined."

City Councilman Robert Brown agrees. "The morale has been affected within the police department. I spoke to several police officers and they are upset that it didn’t go through the rules and procedures that the police department has in place," said Brown.

Chief Petties says the mayor's hiring of Goubil as a Sergeant on the police force "shuts out" other qualified officers who were waiting to be promoted.

In the e-mail the Chief says, "The morale and motivation within my department is the lowest I've ever seen at a time when they need to be galvanized behind their leader. "

Councilman Kevin Boone questions the Mayor's motivation. "There's no communication between the Mayor and the city council, it’s a darn shame. Along with the fact that the gentleman used to work for the state ethics commission, which the way I understand it, he's done investigations for the city, and you take the guy who's doing the investigations and hire him. For the city he's doing the investigations for," said Boone.

We've reached out to Tony Goubil, but have so far received no response. In a press release he says part of his job will be to assess the functionality of several departments: Police, Fire and Emergency Management.

Council members say the Mayor had no authority to hire the man. A salary for the position hasn’t been approved.

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