Junction rehires officer for eight weeks

December 04, 2003|LIZ MAPLES

JUNCTION CITY - Residents here still won't have 24-hour police protection, but they will have more during the next eight weeks when police officer Doug Combs comes back to work.

The city received a $4,000 federal grant from the Justice Department, and Mayor G.G. Harmon hired back Combs, who has been working part time as a substitute for the city's other two officers.

The city will have to spend $440 to match the grant. The grant and match will allow the city to hire Combs back for eight weeks.

Harmon said he was thinking about a way to keep Combs after that.

Harmon laid off two officers in October because the city couldn't afford to pay their salaries.

The other police officer, Anthony Pinkston, found another job. After he was laid off, Pinkston was awarded for bravery because he helped save seven people from an apartment fire.


The city borrowed $100,000 this year to pay bills and write paychecks.

The City Council passed a payroll tax, occupational license fee and a 1 percent payroll tax in September, but Harmon has said it wasn't enough to keep all the employees.

The mayor is solely responsible for city personnel. The City Council didn't vote on the layoffs, and several council members said at the time that they weren't in favor of the decision.

Mounting attorney bills from the clean-up of a lead battery Superfund site, a failing sewerage system and increased insurance costs have been blamed for the shortfalls.

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