JACKSONVILLE — City leaders agreed on Monday to spend another $11,374 this year to cover rising costs for police officer training.

The money will pay for continued training for five new city police officers at the Northeast Alabama Law Enforcement Agency Academy at McClellan.

The Jacksonville City Council approved the extra spending at its regular Monday meeting.

Police Chief Tommy Thompson said during the meeting that the academy’s rates had increased and that there wasn’t enough money in the department’s budget to cover the price jump.

“The ammunition, room and board, all that has gone up several hundred dollars per officer,” Thompson said.

Thompson said the officers’ training started last week and will last through April 20.

During its work session before the meeting, the council had its first talk about hiring a new city administrator. Jarrod Simmons, Jacksonville’s previous and first city administrator, left in November after three years to work as finance director for the Anniston Water Works and Sewer Board.

Mayor Johnny Smith said he wanted the council members’ thoughts on how they wanted the job description drafted.

Councilman Jimmy Harrell said he thought city administrator candidates should have some financial background like Simmons, but should mainly be versed in municipal government law.

“That municipal part was what made Jarrod so invaluable,” Harrell said.

Other council members said they agreed with Harrell that the job description should put an emphasis on education and experience with municipal government.

“I’d also lean toward municipal law,” Councilman Tony Taylor said.

Also during the meeting, John Alred, editor of The Jacksonville News, presented Smith with the publication’s “citizen of the year” award.

“During his tenure, Jacksonville has seen so many changes for the better,” Alred said. “We need more men like this man.”

Council President Sandra Sudduth said Smith was well deserving of the award.

“I’ve worked with him for many years while was mayor and when he was on the council and he’s one of the true citizens of Jacksonville who has the city at heart,” Sudduth said.

 

Staff writer Patrick McCreless: 256-235-3561. On Twitter @PMcCreless_Star.

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