In a surprise move, and not on the pre-released meeting agenda, the Chatham County Commission voted last week to move forward with the hiring of a search firm seeking a county police chief, which would end the merged police department. Reportedly, this keeps the county on schedule and keeps the pressure on all parties to resolve their differences. We are told both city and county managers are close to an agreement with a couple of outstanding issues. The Chamber has been asked to hold off on any immediate actions allowing for further meetings between the parties.
The Chamber has communicated its willingness to respect the process, but has also requested both parties leave time, if necessary, for mediation. We do not want to wake up one morning, hear discussions have ended without an agreement and be told adequate time does not remain to allow mediation. In summary, we should all be pleased with the progress of our city and county managers, in hopes of a solution in the near term. We appreciate both the county and city’s willingness to embrace mediation as one last technique to find middle-ground and retain our merged police department.