AG: Rowe can’t serve as police chief, state legislator
by Ron Harris
Jun 28, 2014 | 3822 views | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Chief Connie Cooner Rowe
Chief Connie Cooner Rowe
Jasper Police Chief Connie Cooner Rowe, who was elected June 3 to the District 13 seat in the Alabama House of Representatives, cannot legally serve as both police chief and state representative, according to Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange.

The Jasper City Council voted during its June 17 meeting to request an attorney general’s opinion on whether Rowe could serve in both public capacities.

Mayor Sonny Posey received a letter from Strange Friday saying that both positions are considered “offices of profit,” meaning Rowe must give up the police chief’s position she’s held since July 2011.

The letter stated that under section 280 of the Constitution of Alabama, “no person holding an office of profit shall ... during his continuance in such office ... hold two offices of profit at one and the same time under this state. ... Thus, a person cannot hold both positions at the same time.”

The letter cited a similar opinion handed down in November 1975 to Livingston Police Chief Larry Moody which said, “chiefs of police and state legislators both hold offices of profit.”

Rowe said she plans to step down as police chief some time prior to the Nov. 3 general election.

“I’ve spoken with the mayor and my plans are to retire prior to election day in November,” she said Friday. “We will determine the exact date during the coming weeks after considering what is in the best interest of the department and the citizens we serve.”

“She’s going to set her own timetable,” Posey said. “Her plans to exit will be hers. She will be under no pressure, and we’ll know when she knows and decides to inform us.”

Posey said there’s no timeframe for when the city will begin taking steps to hire a new police chief.

“We want to look around and maybe encourage some people to apply at the appropriate time,” he said. “We’re not going to get in a hurry. There’s no need to. We’ve got good people at the police department to handle things in the interim, and we’ll move forward and move slow and hope we do the right thing. We certainly did the right thing last time (by hiring Rowe).”