North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

December 18, 2012

Morris "settles up" with former police chief

Town receives more than $18,000 in private donations

By Melanie Patterson
North Jefferson News

MORRIS — After not reappointing its police chief last month — a move that stirred some controversy in the town — Morris has reached a settlement with the former chief.

At its council meeting on Monday, Morris Mayor Joe Pylant announced that the town had settled up with Brian Cochran on “vacation pay and other matters.” On Nov. 28, Pylant informed Cochran that he would not be reappointed as chief, a position that Cochran had held for more than six years.

“At the end of someone’s employment, the wise thing to do is settle up things on both sides,” said Morris town attorney Jim Roberts, adding that another important part of the agreement is to make sure neither side will sue the other.

“That was basically the agreement. He will receive pay for vacation time that he hadn’t taken and other payments for benefits that had been extended by the town,” Roberts said. “It was only fair that we liquidate that time.”

Roberts said Cochran will receive $8,305.80 from the town.

“Both Brian and the town felt like it was a fair agreement,” Roberts said.

Pylant did not give specific reasons for eliminating Cochran as chief, but clarified that Cochran was not fired and did not quit.

Pylant said the town is accepting applications for a new police chief. In the meantime, Det. Mike Nazarchyk is serving as acting chief.

Also on Monday, the town accepted more than $18,000 in private donations. The largest donation was $14,000 from resident Henry Parker, who designated $10,000 for repaving of various streets in the Highlands subdivision, and $2,000 each for the town’s police and fire departments.

“It’s been a pleasure to live in this town and see it grow,” said Parker, who has lived in Morris for 62 years. “The community looks to you (the city council) for leadership and guidance for the town. I just wanted to thank you for it.”

Another anonymous citizen donated $3,000 to the town; Carolyn Smith donated $100 each to the fire and police departments and $50 to the town’s Christmas charity program; Sue Jolly donated $100 each to the police and fire departments; the Highland Homeowners Association donated $250 each to the police and fire departments; and Mrs. Crosby (first name not available) donated $100 to the town’s Christmas charity program.

In other business, the council: