Clarkston police force almost back to full strength as normalcy tries to reassert itselfClarkston City Hall Annex lit up in recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month and Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Photo by Sara Amis
Clarkston, GA — The city of Clarkston seemed focused on righting itself at the city council meeting on Oct. 3. The most consequential item discussed by the city was actually part of the report offered by Interim City Manager Tammi Sadler-Jones: the city has been conducting interviews for a new assistant police chief.
Only three months ago, Clarkston’s police department was on the verge of collapsing, amid a conflict between former city manager Shawanna Qawiy and Clarkston Police Chief Christine Hudson.
The conflict, which resulted in Hudson filing a grievance against Qawiy and a complaint with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, arose partially from a disagreement about hiring an assistant police chief.
President of the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police Janet Moon and GACP Vice President Scott Gray along with Ira Underwood have been assisting with panel interviews, Sadler-Jones said.
Moon is the police chief for Peachtree City, while Gray is chief for Fayetteville and Underwood for Statham.
Hudson told Decaturish that, including the assistant chief, she only has four positions left to fill.
Hudson said that she needed to hire another detective, a public information officer and state certification officer, and just one more patrol officer.
“I’ll be fully staffed on the road when I hire one more officer,” Hudson said.
The only thing on the meeting agenda for the council to consider was a formal approval of items that had already been discussed at last week’s city council work session. Those items included the settlement of two contracts that had been signed by Qawiy without council approval.
City Attorney Stephen Quinn worked out the settlements with the public relations firm PivotPoint LLC and Human Resource Dimensions. In both cases, the companies agreed to dismiss the contracts in return for being paid for work they had already done.
Some Clarkston citizens still feel that Qawiy was unfairly forced to resign. A group called the Concerned Citizens Coalition presented a letter to the city council during public comment, asking for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to look at what led up to Qawiy’s resignation. The letter also called for a diversity and equitable inclusion infrastructure to be created for the city government.
Clarkston resident Kim Ault, who is part of the Concerned Citizens Coalition, said that they sought reconciliation and a safe environment for all the city’s employees and also for the mayor and council.
In other news:
— The city plans to hold a Trunk or Treat event on Saturday, Oct. 28
— The city lit up the Clarkston City Hall Annex in purple and pink to recognize Domestic Violence Awareness Month and Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Mayor Beverly Burks pointed out that she and Council member Laura Hopkins were both breast cancer survivors.
“This will mark my third year as a survivor,” Burks said.
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