Fairhope Police Chief Joseph Petties announced his retirement at Monday’s City Council meeting, only to rescind his retirement minutes later.
Petties received a standing ovation from the council and meeting attendees before his announcement. Petties followed the applaud by making a statement on why he was retiring; saying Mayor Karin Wilson bullied him and made false accusations against him.
“There are times when you don’t always see eye to eye with your supervisor,” Petties told the council, WKRG reported. “But the treatment that I’ve been subjected to as grown to the point that it can’t be ignored.”
According to WKRG, he became so emotional during the reading of his statement, his wife had to finish reading it for him.
Then, in an unanticipated turn of events, council members emphatically tore up Petties’s resignation letter, refusing to accept his resignation. They said they would look into whether or not the council could pursue efforts to pry police supervisory power from Wilson.
Wilson denied Petties allegations, saying they have a great relationship, “It’s not true, at all,” Wilson told WKRG. “Absolutely not true. The Chief is a great person. We have gotten along fine. Turning this into a political thing about me is unfortunate.”
But Wilson has a history of being at odds with both Petties and other members of the City Council.
In February, she announced the hiring of Tony Goubil, the city’s new police sergeant and public safety director at a council meeting without first informing the council or Petties, both of whom were shocked to receive the news as Goubil was apparently sent to investigate a complaint filed against Wilson by the Alabama Ethics Commission sent, according to The Courier.
Petties then sent the mayor an e-mail expressing his apprehensions and thoughts about Goubil, and the uproar it caused within his department.
Wilson later retracted the hire at the March 20 City Council meeting, saying although she believed the city did need a public safety director, and Goubil was a great choice for the position, she understood other people wanted input in the decision. One of those people, was Petties.
Wilson again came under fire in May with Fairhope’s Financial Advisory Committee (FAC), after sending an e-mail to committee chairman Chuck Zunk telling him the city budget was ultimately her responsibility, and that she would let the committee know if and when she needed their input.
For now, Wilson remains Fairhope’s mayor and Petties remains police chief. When asked to comment on the mayor by WKRG, Petties replied “I still work for her. So I don’t want to talk down about her.”
WKRG was live on Facebook during the entire council meeting, which you can watch below: