Fairhope police chief shares concerns about new hire with Mayor Wilson


Fairhope Police Chief Joseph Petties has emailed Mayor Karin Wilson expressing his thoughts and concerns about the recent hire of Tony Goubil as the city’s new police sergeant/public safety director.

Wilson announced Goubil’s hiring at the Feb. 26 council meeting, surprising both the council and Petties who were not informed of the hiring prior to her announcing the decision.

In the email dated March 6 obtained by The Courier, Petties wrote the following:

“I wanted to inform you of the conditions of my department.

“My Department has been in an uproar ever since Monday, February 26, the night you announced the hiring of Tony Goubil. 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. This has been handled totally different than any hires in the past. I have been a police officer with Fairhope for 27 years and a Sergeant has never been brought in from outside.

“My officers feel as though they weren’t given an opportunity to apply for the promotion and those that have gone through the process for promotion feel slighted. They feel that it’s not what you do, but who you know. Where’s their motivation to work hard knowing that they do not have an opportunity for promotion. This has caused not one, but all 35 officers to be upset, not to mention my non-sworn employees. The chain-of-command has been completely undermined, thus making it nonexistent.

“We’ve had two officer involved shootings within the last 6 months. My officers need to be focused on their safety and training and not concerned about which channel their command comes from. I need my employees to stand behind me and support me and in return, I support them. This can’t happen if I am being undermined. I understand that you are authorized to hire and fire, but these decisions need to be carefully considered. The morale and motivation within my Department is the lowest I’ve ever seen at a time when they need to be galvanized behind their leader. I do not need their focus misplaced with worry as to the state of our Department.

“We’ve got officers that have been off probation for over a year and a half and have not received the standard increase. I am in danger of losing these officers. Due to the lack of qualified applications being received it would be hard to replace these officers. We used to be able to attract officers from surrounding agencies, but with the perceived turmoil within the City, we are no longer attracting those applicants. I’m not sure how we have the money in the budget to award such a position that has been given to Mr. Goubil.”