Chris Neal is new Albany Police Chief

Posted April 10, 2019 at 8:11 am

Chris Neal mugshot.psd

The city now has a permanent Albany Police Chief following action taken by the city council at its regular meeting Tuesday, April 3 with four of six members on hand.

On a recommendation by Albany Mayor Lyle Pierce, the council voted unanimously to appoint Chris Neal as police chief. Neal had been serving as interim chief since January, following the dismissal of long-time police chief Ernest Guffey.

Neal has been a police officer for the past 16 years.

Some council members questioned whether or not they even had to vote, assuming the mayor had the right to appoint someone to the position himself. Pierce said he had the authority to fire an individual but the council would have to vote on an appointed position.

Councilwoman Tonya Thrasher asked Mayor Pierce if Neal would receive a pay increase along with the upgrade in positions from patrol officer to chief.

Mayor Pierce stated at first he would get a $1.50 more on the hour. However, Thrasher and other council members felt that Neal needed more considering the extra duties he is now undertaking.

Following some discussion, the council–which was including in the motion to appoint Neal–stipulated a $3 per hour raise and that amount would be looked at again in six months.

During the somewhat lengthy discussion, it also evolved into talking about the city’s participation in helping place a School Resource Officer (SRO) in the district, as it was noted by the mayor that the current contract expires at the end of this month.

Mayor Pierce also questioned the necessity of supplying an SRO, noting that such a person is “hard to find” as both he and newly appointed police chief Neal noted that most officers preferred to patrol the roads rather than in the schools.

Some council members, particularly Thrasher and Tony Delk, however, showed strong support for having an extra SRO in the schools, noting the importance of their presence in schools.

Recently, the Clinton County Sheriff’s Office also worked with the school district to place a second School Resource Officer in the school district, with that officer primarily working out of the middle school.

Also, recently, the Kentucky General Assembly passed major school safety legislation, if funding could be made available, to have an SRO placed in every school in the state in future years.

No official action was taken on the School Resource Officer issue last week, as city legal advisor Norb Sohm was not present for the meeting. Mayor Pierce, however, said that prior to the termination of the contract, it (contract) would be looked at.

In other business last week, the council:

* Heard various department head reports, including street and police department reports.

* Councilman Tony Delk noted there was at least one area along Hwy. 558 that still needed some repair work to property that was disturbed when the water line to Rowena was laid.

* Agreed to look into securing a credit card to be used by the city clerk when paying bills such as the Quickbooks computer program and hotel expenses while doing city business.

* Mayor Pierce noted that a half dozen new fire hydrants had been installed in the city limits the previous week and more were to be installed last week.

He also reported that accounts receivable went down by $13,000 during the first quarter of 2019–January through March–due to higher water bill collection rates, as well as collections on past due bills.

* The council also discussed and agreed to look into possibly getting updated phones for city employees and department heads, noting ones being used were outdated and it was hard to receive reception in some areas.

* Voted 4-0 to hire Carly Fudge of Burkesville as the city’s building inspector. This is at no cost to the city, with the city receiving a portion of inspection fees collected when new buildings are inspected.

The next regular meeting of Albany City Council is scheduled for Tuesday, May 7 at 5 p.m.