By Lena Mitchell

Daily Journal Corinth Bureau

RIPLEY - The office of chief of police will become an appointed position, not an elected one, when the current term expires in 2009.

The city board agreed unanimously at its March 6 meeting to make the change, said Mayor Mike Harrison.

"It has been considered before, but wasn't brought up for a vote until now," Harrison said. "The board felt the citizens could best be served by an appointed chief who didn't have to worry about pleasing voters."

Bert Conely, who resigned as police chief at that meeting, was indicted recently on federal drug charges. He was serving his fourth term of office.

A special election is scheduled for April 10, with the qualifying deadline 5 p.m. March 21. Potential candidates must obtain 50 signatures of qualified city electors, and as of Monday, Harrison said only one candidate had filed qualifying papers.

Candidates will run in a nonpartisan election, with a simple majority required to win office. If a runoff election is required, it will be held one week after the special election. Registered voters who reside in all four wards of the city will be eligible to vote.

So far the Board of Aldermen has not discussed requirements for an appointed police chief.

That matter, Harrison said, "will be discussed more as the time comes."

Contact Daily Journal Corinth Bureau reporter Lena Mitchell at 287-9822 or lena.mitchell@djournal.com

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