Less than a week after Police Chief Frank Beeson announced that he will retire, the City Council directed City Manager Gregory Meyer to move ahead with plans to abolish the positions of police chief and fire chief and to create a director of public safety to oversee both departments.
The council voted unanimously on Tuesday to prepare a Civil-Service class specification and a salary range for the new job, which Meyer said he hopes will be filled by early summer. The reorganization is expected to save the city more than $50,000 a year, Meyer said.
Approval of the new position, however, does not become final until the council formally approves the specification and salary range and votes to abolish the fire and police chief positions, he said.
Beeson, who served as police chief for five years, announced last week that he will retire on June 30. The city has been without a permanent fire chief since Ronald Simmons resigned last July.
Although city officials have denied that plans for the new position were in part intended to encourage Beeson to retire, Beeson said last week that he was never consulted about the reorganization or asked if he wanted to be public safety director.