Lafayette’s new interim Police Chief was announced at the City Council meeting on Tuesday night. Henry Behr, who has been with the department for 5 years, will take the position until it can be permanently filled.
“I’ve met some of ya’ll, some of you I haven’t. I hope I haven’t given any of you a ticket,” said Behr as he stepped behind the podium to address City Council members. Behr has worked five years with the city department and fifteen years with law enforcement in general. He retired from the army with 27 years under his belt, a Brigade Sergeant Major with 36 people under his authority.
“I served in in Vietnam and every tour on through Desert Storm,” he told the Council. I’ve served in every leadership position an enlisted person can serve in the army.”
Behr expressed interest in the permanent Chief position. Mayor Driver made the statement, for the benefit of all present, that the position is open to any applicants. Behr will have to go through the application process just as anyone else will.
“This department always had a reputation as being a tough department and a good department,” said Behr. “Everybody wants to work here… I’m going to do everything I can do to ensure that this department keeps that reputation. We’ve got officers in this department that are stellar officers.”
Former Lafayette Police Chief Ray Amalfitano’s resignation, which was effective on August 31, was put to the Council for formal acceptance. All Council members voted to accept it— with the exception of Pam Cothron and Jerry Wix.
“I believe this investigation that resulted in Amalfitano’s resignation is suspicious in nature,” Cothron explained. “I have not seen a report that resulted in this investigation, and cannot in good conscience vote to accept his resignation. That is not to say I will not be fully behind anyone who decides to accept this position, either as interim or a permanent position… as long as he is willing to work for the good of the public. I cannot in good conscience accept his resignation, so my vote of record will be no.”
Roger Russell made a recommendation to the council that Behr be awarded the salary of the position that he is taking over, for the length of time that he is in the position; the legal restrictions on raises for interim positions will have to be investigated.
Other business covered during the meeting:
*Patrol Officer Rejena Parker’s letter of resignation was accepted, also effective August 31, 2012. Becky Johnson’s letter of retirement was accepted, with the thanks of the City Council. A retirement luncheon for Becky will be held Friday, September 28 in the council chamber.
*Employee evaluations and salary increases were approved for the following city employees: Sheila Hunter, Office; Clint Hestand, Police Dept.; Jeff Roark, Waste Water Dept.; Mary Ray, Police Dept.
*One member of the board of directors for the Development Board of the City of Lafayette was elected— Steve Cothron.
*Chris Ballou of Mid Tenn Engineering reported to the Council on the engineering services necessary to prepare for construction on Hwy 10 which TDOT will be starting early next year. This project—the moving of 1.8 miles of waterline and a negligible length of gas line—is 100% reimbursable by TDOT, and will soon be underway.
*The Mayor brought a proposal before the council to begin surveying and risk assessment for the parcels of property purchased this year out of the Industrial Fund. These assessments must be completed in order to advertise the property on Select Tennessee, where prospective businesses can scout the details of a proposed site before developing it. The council approved the beginning of the project on lots 12, 13, and 14, covering costs not exceeding $30,000.
*The airport is soon to receive an AWS system, paid for almost entirely by the State of TN and the FAA, said Mayor Driver to attendees of the meeting. The program is a crucial safety feature for an airport—it sends a fully automated report to pilots, detailing the exact weather conditions that exist at an airport. “All of this is critical, especially in bad weather,” said Councilman Tom Roberts.
*Resolutions were adopted to call for public hearings for the annexation of various properties on Akersville Rd, belonging to Roy and Christine Carter, Charles and Julie Caruthers, Betty Hersey, and Roger Jent. The resolutions (09-04-2012A-I), allowing for public hearings to determine whether the properties should be annexed and discussing a plan of service for the properties, were all adopted. A series of Ordinances (626-629), annexing said properties and incorporating them within the corporate boundary of the City of Lafayette, were also passed.