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City of Oxford makes changes for new year

OXFORD - Five appointments were made by the Oxford City Council at its Monday night monthly meeting. Those positions - city attorney, municipal court judge, municipal court solicitor, city clerk and police chief - are contracted for one year and voted on each year by the mayor and council as to whether or not the person in the position will remain.

During Monday's meeting, the city council voted unanimously to appoint Clark Miller as the city's new police chief, replacing Roy Eitneier.

Roseberry said Tuesday the city council decided it wanted to "make a change in the Oxford police department" this year.

"One of the goals for the department is to be accredited by the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police; there's only 89 cities in the state with that, and I want Oxford to be one of them," Roseberry said. "It requires someone with considerable experience in administration in the police field to make it work."

Roseberry said he felt like someone with more experience than Eitneier, who was police chief for four years in Oxford, would "move the department to the next level.

"We did not fire (Eitneier); we did not offer to renew his contract. We've done that before with city attorneys and other positions. Police chiefs tend to move every three or four years on average anyway," Roseberry said.

He said Eitneier was "given more than 30 days notice" that he would not be reappointed to his position in January.

The Citizen was not able to contact Eitneier for comment.

Roseberry said the executive position of police chief was not required to be advertised; instead, he looked for recommended replacements through the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police.

"I told them what we were looking for, and a member of that organization came back and told me who they thought would be the best fit for us," Roseberry said about the newly appointed chief.

Roseberry said the city's personnel committee - made up of two city councilmen and Roseberry - interviewed Miller and suggested he be appointed to the position.

The mayor and council voted unanimously to approve the reappointments of City Attorney David Strickland, Municipal Court Judge Steven A. Hathorn, Municipal Court Solicitor Tiffany Jones Ellenberg and City Clerk/Treasurer Carol A. Poole.

The council also appointed Councilman George Holt as mayor pro tem and Forrest McCanless as a new member of the city's Planning Commission to replace Emma Lou Patterson, who was recently appointed councilwoman.

Also with the New Year came some reorganization on the Oxford City Council.

Roseberry reorganized certain council members' committees. Patterson will work on parks, trees and cemeteries; Frank Davis will work with streets, sidewalks and solid waste; Holt will continue to handle finance, audit and public safety; Hoyt Oliver will work with personnel, planning and zoning and stormwater; Terry Smith is in charge of utilities and public works; and Jim Windham will work with buildings and grounds.

"We've got some new people on the council, so we thought we'd move some things around," Roseberry said. "Certain jobs need experience to do."

He also said beginning in February, work sessions for the council meetings will be held at 6 p.m. the third Monday of each in the Oxford Community Room. In January, the work session will be held at 6 p.m. Jan. 28 because of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday Jan. 21.

In other Oxford news, the city hall office hours have been changed from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. to 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, beginning Feb. 4.

Michelle Floyd can be reached at michelle.floyd@newtoncitizen.com.