City board approves multiple employment changes

Published 10:00 am Saturday, October 9, 2021

Numerous pay raises, promotions and other personnel recommendations were approved by the Brookhaven Board of Aldermen during its recent regular meeting.

Prior to Tuesday night’s meeting, Sgt. Eric Malone and M.Sgt. Kevin Thompson were the only sergeants in the police department, aside from detectives. All detectives have a minimum rank of sergeant.  BPD Chief Kenneth Collins requested the board approve promotions for four officers to the sergeant rank — Cpl. Seth Easterling, Cpl. Reginald Cain, Cpl. Jonathan Buie and Certified Police Officer Jonathan Hart. Hart was recommended for the bump from CPO past corporal to sergeant because for some time he has operated as a shift supervisor, Collins said, a position that should be held by someone ranked at sergeant or higher.

Two CPOs were recommended for promotion to corporal — Thomas Allen and Bobby Hathorn. Ward 2 Alderman Shannon Moore asked Collins why Hathorn was not promoted along with Hart to a sergeant’s rank — due to his longer length of service to the department — the chief answered that Hart had been a full-time employee while Hathorn had only recently moved from part-time to full-time employment at BPD.

Alderman-at-Large Don Underwood asked Collins if the number of new sergeants would make the department’s organizational structure “top heavy,” with more ranked officers than patrolmen or CPOs. The chief said the department works four shifts and a sergeant is needed as a supervisor for each shift. The additional hires would give him five sergeants — plus M.Sgt. Thompson — so he would not the department would not be in want of a shift supervisor.

The aldermen voted unanimously in support of the following:

Police department

• Resignation of Diwardric Jackson, effective Oct. 5

• Resignation of Cody Cooper, effective Sept. 30

• Resignation of Kenneth Short, effective Sept. 30

• Promotion for Seth Easterling, from corporal to sergeant, with salary increase from $37,005.60 to $44,163.48, retroactive to Oct. 1

• Promotion for Reginald Cain, from corporal to sergeant, with salary increase from $31,010.40 to $44,163.48, retroactive to Oct. 1

• Promotion for Jonathan Buie, from corporal to sergeant, with salary increase from $37,005.60 to $44,163.48, retroactive to Oct. 1

• Promotion for Jonathan Hart, from certified police officer to sergeant, with salary increase from $31,010.40 to $44,163.48, retroactive to Oct. 1

• Promotion for Thomas Allen, from certified police officer to corporal, with salary increase from $31,010.40 to $37,005.60, retroactive to Oct. 1

• Promotion for Bobby Hathorn, from certified police officer to corporal, with salary increase from $31,010.40 to $37,005.60, retroactive to Oct. 1

• Base pay increase for certified police officer Markus March from $31,010.40 to $33,884.45, retroactive to Oct. 1

• Base pay increase for certified police officer Kelsie Evans from $31,010.40 to $33,884.45, retroactive to Oct. 1

• Base pay increase for certified police officer Shardae Oatis from $28,084.80 to $33,884.45, retroactive to Oct. 1

• Base pay increase for certified police officer Omarius Bryant from $28,084.80 to $33,884.45, retroactive to Oct. 1

• Base pay increase for certified police officer Kyle Mossman from $28,084.80 to $33,884.45, retroactive to Oct. 1

• Base pay increase for certified police officer Cody Leggett from $28,084.80 to $33,884.45, retroactive to Oct. 1

• Base pay increase for certified police officer Ashley McDuffey from $28,084.80 to $33,884.45, retroactive to Oct. 1

Solid Waste Department

• Hiring of Robert L. Joiner as an operator at $10.74 per hour, pending drug test and physical

• Five-year anniversary increase for Melvin Kelly, operator, from $13.02 to $14.02 hourly, retroactive to Oct. 1

Fire department

• Promotion of Jermaine Culver from lieutenant to training captain (a new position) at $48,604.80, retroactive to Oct. 1

• Promotion of Michael Byrd from fire fighter first class with five years of service to lieutenant at $44,767.32, retroactive to Oct. 1

Chief Collins also introduced to the board Ebony Ross, a certified 911 dispatcher trainer for Lincoln and Pike counties. Dispatchers must complete standards and training every two years at a cost of $395 per person, mandated by the State.

“Through the state as a 911 dispatcher, you are required within 12 months of being hired to be certified, so I am able to certify anywhere,” Ross said. “I am able to come to the police department or the sheriff’s department or any city-owned business, if allowed, and they can come straight to me. You don’t have to pay the mileage and hotel or anything — strictly the certification.”

During the month of September, Collins said his department answered 1,374 calls, worked 105 accidents, made 149 traffic stops, issued 80 citations, responded to 48 disturbance calls, 91 unlock requests and 142 “other” calls.

“We had 33 felony arrests,” Collins said. “That’s what we did last month. We’ve been extremely busy and these officers work a tremendous amount of overtime. It’s tough on everybody, but we’re doing the best we can.”