Bailey hires new police chief

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BAILEY — After interviewing candidates in an extended closed session during Monday’s monthly town meeting, the Bailey Board of Commissioners voted to hire a Vance County sheriff’s deputy as the town’s new police chief.

Taylor Bartholomew will begin his new position on Jan. 2 at a salary of $41,000 per year, subject to completion of paperwork and a background check. Bartholomew has served the Vance County Sheriff’s Office for one year and has 22 years of law enforcement experience.

Commissioners also voted to hire Kathy Callahan as a full-time police officer at a salary of $36,000. Callahan also will begin her duties on Jan. 2.

Interim Chief Gerald Coggin facilitated the interview process during the closed session. During last month’s meeting, commissioners decided that Coggin would stay with the Bailey department until a permanent chief was hired.

“I hope we can get the right candidates and make the right choice for the town. I’m looking forward to moving on with the department and seeing what happens in the new year,” Coggin said.

In addition to the new hires, the board also approved a motion to rescind the job offer made last month to former Sharpsburg police chief John Hunt to serve as a part-time police officer.

Commissioners did not cite a reason for taking back the offer. However, Hunt recently was named in a federal discrimination lawsuit filed by Lynette Clements, a former lieutenant with the Sharpsburg Police Department, though he was not listed as a defendant. Hunt has said he supports Clements in her allegations of race, gender and disability-based discrimination against the town of Sharpsburg.

Joel Killion, the newly appointed police commissioner, said he was personally looking for a number of qualities in Bailey’s next chief. His checklist included having professional qualifications, loyalty to the town, a willingness to answer to the town board and the ability to help secure grants.

Commissioners also voted to create a new part-time position for a zoning administrator and code enforcer. The position will pay $14-$15 per hour for 20-30 hours per month.

“I want to see somebody who has the heart of Bailey in them and wants to keep the town going. Somebody local, I hope,” said Commissioner Allen Daniels, who brought forth the motion.

Board meetings for 2019 also were set Monday. Since the third Mondays in January and February are both federal holidays, commissioners voted to hold the monthly meetings on the second Monday those two months. Starting in March 2019, meetings will again be held on the third Monday of the month.

Christmas bonuses in the amount of $100 each also were approved for part-time police officers who have worked for one year as well as the town administrator and town clerk.