The LaFayette City Council named LaFayette Police Lieutenant Ben Hill interim police chief during their meeting Monday night.
Hill will take over for Kenny Vines, whose retirement was announced during the February 9 council meeting. While no timetable was originally set for Vines’ departure from the department, The Sun reported last week that Vines would step down on February 20.
His departure required that the position be filled immediately, and Hill, who was second in command behind Vines, was chosen by the council to assume the role.
Councilwoman Tammie Williams, chair of the Police and Fire Committee, said that Sgt. George Rampey will be the second in command behind Lt. Hill in the interim. The city has already begun the search for a new full-time police chief.
Three proclamations were awarded by the council at the meeting. The first was to Dr. Randy B. Kelley, pastor of Powell Chapel United Methodist Church, for his work as a community leader in LaFayette.
Two proclamations were presented to recognize the “Let’s Move” campaign. “Let’s Move” is a comprehensive initiative dedicated to solving the challenges of childhood obesity so that children may grow up healthy and pursue their dreams.
Councilwoman Williams has been instrumental in getting the campaign started in the city and she informed the council that LaFayette has been awarded four gold medals for reaching goals set by the campaign. She also said that the city will be eligible in the coming weeks to achieve a fifth gold metal.
Eastside Principal Lakeyda Burnett and Vickie Rampey of Rampey’s Daycare were both presented proclamations for their partnership in the “Let’s Move” campaign.
Williams added that she hoped to get a community garden started on land behind Rampey’s Daycare and that community members and students could help make it successful.
Resident Yolanda Ratchford was on the agenda to speak to the council about two items. First, she expressed concern with the lack of accountability from the city’s Recreation Board. She also said she would like to see some diversity with the sports offered to area youth, and that she would like meetings of the Recreation Board to be advertised so that citizens are aware and could attend.
City Clerk Louis T. Davidson noted that the council had previously requested expense reports from the city’s Recreation Board, but that request has yet to be fulfilled. Williams went on record again to ask that the expense report from the board be provided to the council.
Ratchford also told the council that she appreciated how they handled the situation over the past few weeks with Police Chief Vines. She expressed her gratitude to Vines for his many years of service. “He is an awesome man and he did a great job for the City of LaFayette,” she said. “Friday was definitely a sad day.”
Councilman Erick Vines questioned a leak coming from the water tower next to the Fire Department. Water Distribution Superintendent Jeff Williams said that there was a problem with an altitude valve and that he was getting quotes on parts to get it fixed.
Mayor Barry Moody extended his congratulations to the city’s basketball teams. He commended Chambers Academy’s boys, who finished as the state runner up this season. Minutes before the council meeting began, LaFayette’s boys defeated Tanner in the state semifinals to advance to the state title game Friday. Moody said he was proud of the team and he hopes to greet them at halfcourt when they win the title. He encouraged the community to go support the team in their quest for the championship.