Assistant Dougherty County Police Chief Cynthia "Jackie" Battle has been appointed to serve as the department's interim chief effective Nov. 10, 2012. DCP Chief Don Cheek will retire Nov. 9 for health reasons after more than 40 years with the department.
ALBANY, Ga. — Despite a disagreement over plans that will govern Jackie Battle's tenure as interim chief of the Dougherty County Police Department that spilled over from the regular meeting of the Dougherty County Commission Monday, the commission's Public Safety Committee recommended nine goals and a salary for Battle during her six months as interim chief.
If the committee's recommendation is approved by the entire commission, Battle's salary will increase from $61,470 to $76,000. She will also be evaluated on goals that basically call for her to maintain the service level of DCP.
Battle, who said both the goals and the salary adjustment are "fine with me," was asked to weigh in on Commissioner John Hayes' concern that Battle might not receive "all the tools she needs to be successful" under a plan recommended by the Public Safety Committee and approved by the entire commission a few minutes earlier.
One of Hayes' primary concerns is that Battle would not have an assistant chief to assist her under the plan, an issue that Hayes said might hinder her chances for success in the position.
"You have intentionally or inadvertently put her at a handicap," Hayes said, adding that the six-month interim period imposed by the committee might be restrictive.
But the Public Safety Committee's three members — Chair Muarlean Edwards, Jack Stone and Gloria Gaines — said their plan will in no way limit Battle's chances for success.
"I think it's inherent in the language that interim Chief Battle has the responsibility of handling the duties of the office," Gaines said. "Her goals call for her to maintain a level of service, and if she feels it necessary to ask for anything additional to accomplish those goals, I think it is clear to her that she can come to Mr. (County Administrator Richard) Crowdis or this body."
Stone said he has no interest in seeing Battle fail.
"I've been one of her biggest supporters from the start," he said after the meeting. "I'm willing to stick my neck out for her because I believe in her and (former DCP Chief) Don Cheek believes in her. I'm not going to do anything that would hurt her chances for success."
Battle told the committee she will delegate some of the duties that she carried out as assistant chief.
"My plans — and I've already started doing this — are to utilize the captains, the lieutenants and the sergeants for the things that come up," she said. "As long as I know I'm able to delegate these duties, we'll be fine. Unless the commission tells me otherwise, that's my plan."
In recommending such goals as "maintain and manage department expenses within current budget," "develop proposed FY 2013-14 budgets for county police and animal control" and "maintain open communication and professional working relationship with the news media," Crowdis said he purposely chose broad topics that focus on maintenance of service.
"I talked with Chief Cheek about these, and the idea was for Jackie, as chief, to maintain the level of service within the department that we have now," Crowdis said.
Crowdis recommended the $76,000 salary that would put Battle at a pay scale above the county's jail director ($60,539), sheriff's office colonel ($63,229) and sheriff's office chief deputy ($75,290). Cheek's salary was $88,082 when he left office, and the sheriff's salary is $89,089.
Approval of the goals and salary now rests with the entire County Commission.