In order to do this, Duchock must officially be listed as a part-time employee, although he will still work approximately 32-36 hours a week. The move will save the city $28,000 to $29,000 per year, both in salary (Duchock will now be an hourly employee rather than a salaried one) and in insurance and retirement costs.
Mayor Randy Stephens recommended to the council that it agree to the change, since it means no change in the chief’s duties, but will save the city greatly.
“He is going to retire, he is going to take his state retirement,” Stephens said. “I would love to retain him as police chief, on a part-time basis.”
The council did discuss the issue of the take-home car for the chief, since Duchock will be a part-time employee. Eventually council members did agree in spite of the car issue, because he will be on-call at all times if he is needed.
Stephens and council members Richard Lovelady, Robbie Busby, Clyde Nix and Mayor Pro Tem Gary Thomas voted in favor of the measure.
Council members Betty Sanders and Hezikiah Walker abstained from the vote. Council member George Sides Jr. voted against the move, saying that if the mayor was the appointing authority, he should handle the matter, instead of the council.
He referred to the earlier issues over the appointing of the fire chief.
Stephens said that since then he had asked the council to confirm his decision on the new golf course manager and this was the same type of request.
In other business:
•The council also approved the promotion of Officer Jared Hall to Sargent, with a 5 percent raise in pay.
•The council approved the new firefighter volunteers and fire department officers.
There has previously been discussion that the firefighters were suppose to be approved by the council. However, Fire Chief Chris Edwards said that had not been the policy of the department, according to their handbook.
“If this brings this council together, we’re more than happy to bring this down here and let y’all approve it,” Edwards said. “But, I’m the one that’s going to pick who is going to go into a house fire with me.”
Edwards said that was the reason for the department’s policy of background checks and physical agility testing — to ensure the volunteers can physically do the job and do not have criminal backgrounds.
“These guys right here, and the other ones on this department, they work their tail off to make y’all look good, they make the whole city look good,” Edwards said. “They are only doing it because they have your support. When they lose your support, they won’t do it anymore.”