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FinaliCouncil interviews finalists

By By MARY-ALLISON LANCASTER – Managing editor
Despite a few butterflies in their stomachs, all three finalists for police chief in Brewton remained upbeat and eager to speak with the mayor and the full council during the interviews held Tuesday afternoon.
Mayor Ted Jennings and all of the council members were present for the interviews, except for Councilman Walter Lewis who has been absent due to illness. Members went into executive session and held interviews behind closed glass doors.
The first candidate interviewed was Donnie Nunley, 58. This will be Nunley's second time to interview for the position. He is currently employed with the state of Alabama as an investigator.
Nunley is retired from the Oakland, Calif., Police Department and has worked in law enforcement since 1975. He currently commutes daily from Brewton to Atmore where he works, and he said that if hired as chief, he would welcome the new short commute.
Monte McGougin, 32, was the second candidate interviewed. This is his first time applying for the position.
McGougin has nearly 11 years of experience in law enforcement and was recently promoted to lieutenant with the Escambia County Sheriff's Department. While McGougin is the youngest of the candidates to be interviewed, if hired as the new chief he would not be the youngest police chief Brewton has had.
To date, the youngest police chief the city has had is former Police Chief Glenn Holt. Holt was 27 when he was first hired in October of 1960. He retired from the force in January of 1987.
The final candidate interviewed was Alexis Glover, 42, who traveled from Washington, D.C., where he works with the police department as an officer. Glover interviewed for his third time with the city Tuesday evening.
All three candidates have a degree in criminal justice and extensive law enforcement backgrounds. McGougin, who was born and reared in Brewton and is very familiar with the police department, said the number one thing that he wants to do within the department if he becomes the new chief is to get better pay for police officers.
Currently, Brewton police are the lowest paid officers in the county. With 22 sworn in officers, including the chief, the pay per hour for officers after they become certified is $8.11. In Atmore, officers are paid $9.50 before they even become certified, five Poarch officers are paid $12 per hour and the county officers get $10.08 per hour. Other department information was unavailable.
However, the new chief, whose annual base salary begins at $41,000, will have one of the biggest budgets out of all the departments in the city to work with. The new chief will be working with $1.3 million of the General Fund with enough wiggle room to increase pay raises if desired.
Nunley and McGougin agree that the Brewton Police Department needs new leadership to guide the department into the right direction.
As an outsider to the department but certainly not far from home, Nunley said that while he would not like to elaborate, "there are some things I have observed on the outside I feel they need to be changed in order to meet some of the needs of the community."
Glover also comes in as an outsider and said that "he wouldn't know" what he would change if anything, if he was to be hired as the new chief.
McGougin also said that he wants the police officers to have better training and to be more involved in the community.
In terms of crime, Nunley and McGougin agree there is a major drug problem in the city. One of Nunley's first priorities if hired as the new chief would to help alleviate the drug problem.
Police Chief David "Mickey" Lovelace will officially retire effective Oct. 26. He had served as a member of the police department for 25 years and was named to the chief position Feb. 27, 2001.
The mayor and city council members have a full week until the next regularly scheduled council meeting, which will be held on Sept. 27 at 5 p.m. at City Hall, where they may come to a final vote on Brewton's new police chief. To be hired, the new chief must receive a two-thirds affirmative vote from the council.