By JESSIE HORTON
DUBLIN (April 21, 2015) — After less than 30 minutes in executive session, Dublin City Council members returned to open session and took the first steps to some big changes in Dublin. They approved two measures in a matter of minutes – the first to offer Max Westbrook the interim police chief job for Dublin PD, the second to look into other law firms as the city’s legal representation.
Westbrook will be offered the interim police chief job at Dublin as early as Tuesday morning. And after more than five months of serving as the interim, Sgt. Bennie Noel is back to his regular duties and school resource officer duties at Dublin ISD’s secondary campus.
Dublin Mayor David Leatherwood said the city was grateful to Noel for his continued service, and City Administrator Nancy Wooldridge stated, “Bennie’s done a wonderful job for the city and the department. We couldn’t have done this without his help.”
Leatherwood said the council just wanted a set of fresh eyes in the position and, again stated, the council search committee was continuing to look at possible candidates for chief. The position has been vacant since October 2014 when Shawn Fullagar left for a position with Plano ISD.
“Mr. Westbrook has a very impressive track record of going in as interim chief and improving police departments,” Leatherwood said of the outside hire. “He has worked as interim chief in towns like Del Rio, Uvalde and, most recently, Hamilton. In fact, he constructed a new police force in Hamilton and was very successful in that endeavor. He has a very extensive resume in law enforcement and management. His knowledge and leadership should be very beneficial in making Dublin PD strong.”
Not much was said in regards to the city looking into legal counsel. However, it is believed that dissatisfaction with recent legal issues among the council led to the measure to look into other firms. The council told officials to contact their current law firm with a chance to represent themselves, but asked for other firms to consider as well.
“We are looking into changing law firms because we feel our legal representation has been inadequate,” Leatherwood said.
Professional Ambulance Company and Dublin EMS Director Max Smith presented a request for $6,266 to the council during the meeting. This is in addition to the $74,038 the city is already paying to have the ambulance remounted. The additional cost will be to completely outfit the ambulance with all new lights and other add-ons. Those items were included in the original estimate, but since the city changed from one type of chassis to another, the cost changed as well. The council approved the measure.
Before continuing, the city recognized Smith for his recent fundraiser. His gun raffle completely funded the department’s new uniforms and mattresses for the overnight shift’s quarters.
In other business, Dublin City Administrator Nancy Wooldridge requested an estimated $37,500 from the council to bury electric lines that pass over a ball field in the Dublin City Park, along with two other minor renovations. She told the council the improvements to the park will further the city’s chances of getting a $75,000 grant they are trying to get.
Wooldridge said she has been in contact with the city’s grant writer at GrantWorks, who advised no other town has ever presented the grant with as many volunteer hours pledged as Dublin has. In addition, Wooldridge said the city’s need was so great and the community was so behind the project – they have donated an estimated $17,000 through the Pennies for the Park program – the grant writer thinks there is a good chance the city will get the grant.
“We won’t know until August, but we have a really good chance thanks to the community and how great our need is,” she said. “And with all the funds the community has already raised and the volunteer hours they’ve pledged, the city’s looking at only having to match $21,000, instead of the $75,000 originally planned.”