Rainsville chief reinstated following mayor's allegations - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Rainsville chief reinstated following mayor's allegations


Rainsville City Council voted unanimously Thursday evening to reinstate the city's police chief, finding "no factual basis" to allegations posed by the mayor.

Chief Charles Centers was reinstated at full pay at the hearing, at which Mayor Nick Jones had said the chief violated the law by putting a municipal tag on a vehicle and then drove it to Rome, Georgia.

The mayor said officers write tickets for switched tags, and feels the chief deserves a one-week suspension. But in response to the mayor, the chief's attorney maintains that a city councilman asked the chief to drive the vehicle to see if he liked it as the city considers its purchase.

The attorney also cited Alabama law as saying a tag can be placed on a vehicle that is being purchased or is being acquired. He also said the mayor governs by bullying.

"Charles has been unwilling to give in on allowing the mayor to intervene in police investigations and do other things the chief knows is improper and the mayor should know is improper," said Centers' attorney, Jayson Carroll.

Thursday's council decision was presented to a room packed with residents. However, the mayor did not come to make his case.

"I think the mayor did not show because he couldn't sustain the charges, pure and simple. It's embarrassing to lose in a public venue," said Carroll.

Mayor Jones said he did not attend the meeting on advice of the city attorney. He said that a due process hearing will have to be held before a neutral party and not the city council.

This is not the first conflict between the two men. Back in June, the chief sent notice the city would possibly face a million-dollar lawsuit due to harassment from the mayor.

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