City Council OKs chief's resignation

PORTERDALE -- Two City Council members said Monday night that they believe the town's next police chief should be promoted from within.

Police Chief Wayne Digby, who notified the council of his resignation Sept. 1, will remain in charge of the Porterdale Police Department until Oct. 15, the effective date of his resignation.

The City Council voted unanimously following a closed session Monday night to accept Digby's resignation as tendered. Digby has held the post for more than three years.

In the council's regular meeting Monday night prior to the closed session, Councilman Mike Harper praised Digby's efforts to make the Porterdale Police Department a more professional agency. "We are not where we used to be with our police department," he said.

Harper said the department has been able to keep good officers due to the leadership over the past several years. He warned that morale will suffer if the council hires Digby's successor from outside the department.

"I don't want to see us go outside the city to hire a police chief," Harper said. "I think we need to hire from within.

"I just want to give this council the opportunity to think long and hard before we do that."

Councilman Robert Foxworth went one step further and declared that he thinks Lt. James Pilgrim should succeed Digby and said he will recommend Pilgrim when the time comes.

Digby said last week that he also will recommend to the council that Pilgrim be promoted to chief. Digby said Pilgrim has experience as a supervisor with the Newton County Sheriff's Office and has his police chief's certification.

Digby cited issues with an employment contract offered him by the City Council among his reasons for leaving. Digby said he felt the employment contract offered to him was "insulting," pointing out that the contract calls for a 90-hour pay period with no increase in compensation and no compensatory time off and prohibits him from working any part-time outside jobs. In addition, the contract changes the structure of his vacation and sick time earnings.