LaFayette hires new fire chief

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, December 18, 2019

LaFAYETTE — The LaFayette Fire Department has a new leader.

The LaFayette City Council voted Monday unanimously to hire James Doody as its next fire chief at a salary of $55,000.

LaFayette City Clerk Louis Davidson said Doody has to undergo a drug test, background check and physical, and then it becomes official. He said Doody has already begun the process of moving to the region from Florida.

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Former LaFayette Police Chief Heath Cotney resigned from the city in August, citing health reasons. Captain Todd Angel was placed in charge in the interim.

In other business Monday, the city voted to allow City Attorney Joesph Tucker to investigate the status of a non-profit organization within the city.

Chris Busby of the Chambers County Development Authority informed the board that to operate as a Main Street Alabama organization, it will be non-profit status to do so. He said there was once a non-profit organization under the name The LaFayette Building Authority. However, he didn’t know if it was still active.

Tucker said he believed the organization was technically in good status but would need to be fully staffed again. He said the organization was once responsible for expanding the Chambers County Courthouse, placing the Joe Louis statue and establishing the Chambers County Department of Human Resources building in LaFayette.

Busby said the non-profit is also necessary to raise money through donations and for individuals to donate working hours to a project.

At a recent Main Street Alabama open house, Busby said about 30 people showed up. What was discovered at the meeting was that a steering committee was needed. Once that was established, four of those members decided they would attend a free workshop hosted by Main Street Alabama. That workshop would help them learn more information about applying to be a full member of Main Street Alabama.

After the members return from that workshop, Bubsy said it would be time to decide if the city wants to move forward or not.

Being a full member of the Main Street Alabama will give the city intimate access to economic development professionals about how to grow its downtown into a success. The city would receive technical assistance, involving market analysis and economic development strategies tailored to LaFayette. Full members also receive more training and workshops about how to take the information from the training and implement it into the community.

LaFayette would also have access to educational resources and host special events with the Main Street Alabama namesake.

Busby has said in the past that being a Main Street Alabama member also gives a city a potential advantage in obtaining grants for community development.

However, the process is not free. After being accepted into the program, there is a tiered fee for new programs throughout its first three years. The first year for new programs is $7,500, the second year is $5,000 and the third year is $3,000. The fourth-year and beyond is a $1,500 cost for cities.

Additionally, LaFayette would have to hire a Main Street director.

Because LaFayette has a population of fewer than 5,000 residents, this position does not have to be full-time.