Fairhope Mayor Karin Wilson retracts contentious police hire

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Fairhope Mayor Karin Wilson announced during a March 20 City Council meeting she would be retracting the controversial hire of new police sergeant and public safety director Tony Goubil.

Wilson’s hiring of Goubil in February caused an uproar from several city council members and current Fairhope Police Chief Joseph Petties.

“I was inundated with phone calls that night about something that I had no knowledge of. I am not understanding how someone can be hired under my Department without my knowledge and without any input from me,” said Petties in an email to Wilson.

The reason everyone was shocked and perplexed by the hire was because the Alabama Ethics Commission sent Goubil to investigate a complaint filed against Wilson, and although the complaint was dismissed, “those who filed the claims questioned how Goubil’s investigations into those claims could be trusted in the light of his hiring by Wilson.”

Since then, Wilson has met with several city council members and Petties to discuss the new position, and the hiring process for it.

“I believe there is a need for a public safety director, and Goubil is a great choice for this position,” Wilson told The Courier. “But, I do understand other people would like to have input and I want to hear them out and come to a mutually agreed upon decision. I am withdrawing Mr. Goubil’s name until a new organizational chart can be developed and approved with council.”

“I think it’s appropriate that we stay or pause any new public safety position until a time the council and mayor have had time to collaborate on what everyone’s primary concerns are,” said councilman Jay Robinson in the same report. “It’s also imperative we discuss those concerns with our chief of police and make sure we are giving him all the resources he needs to do his job to the best of his ability. I think the way we’re handling this right now is the best way to move the city forward.”

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