Port Wentworth votes to secure police chief’s job as race for new mayor continues

PORT WENTWORTH, Ga. (WSAV) – For the first time ever, the Port Wentworth city council voted to approve a 5-year contract for their police chief.

As Mayor Glenn Jones prepares to step away from his seat, members of council proposed a contract for their long time police chief Matt Libby, to ensure he doesn’t go with him.

“Chief Libby has been here for 20 years without a contract,” said City Councilmember Paul Fox, “Because there’s now going to be a possible new mayor, new council… why would we give him a contract now?”

Port Wentworth is ranked the 9th safest city in Georgia.

“So he’s doing something right,” Fox said, “So people are scared because change is coming.”

The contract secures Libby in his position for five years.

In a contentious meeting Thursday night, council member Judson Bower expressed the chief deserves security.
Council members Fox and Thomas Barbee disputed it, saying no other city employees are on contract and safety is based on their work.

“Why would we pay somebody who ya know isn’t doing their job?” Fox said, “He’s doing his job, he has nothing to worry about.”

Fox also said the item popped up on the agenda just days before their meeting .

“Only three council members worked on it, we have six member council, transparency is letting everybody have an input on it, and we just think it’s something they’re trying to slide through,” he said.

Both mayoral candidates, Tim Holbrook and Gary Norton told News 3 Thursday that Libby’s been doing a good job and neither plan to get rid of him.

The vote was split three-three and passed with Mayor Jones.

According to the contract, the police chief will start out making about $83,000 dollars, but by year five with raises included, could make more than $100,000 dollars.

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