Wiggins Police Chief's Future is Uncertain

The job of the Wiggins police chief is in limbo. On Tuesday night the Board of Alderman voted unanimously to hire the police chief and the public works superintendent on a temporary basis. Last week Mayor Ferris O'Neal vetoed two of the board's re-appointments including Police Chief Steve Compston. Ferris said he didn't have enough time to review the department.

Chief Compston says he went to the board of alderman meeting hoping the board would override Mayor O'Neal's veto of his re-appointment make his job secure. That didn't happen. Compston says all he can do now is try to work things out with the mayor.

"He knows about some more problems that I am unaware of ," said Chief Compston. "So we'll start getting together and see if we can work those out."

The Board of Alderman decided to keep Compston on staff until the mayor finishes his review on how to bring up the police department's performance.

O'Neal "It is certainly not a personal issue,' said Mayor O'Neal. "The only thing that it is to see if we can bring the performance of those two departments up and not only them but all the other departments of the city"

Since the mayor isn't sure how long his review will take some alderman say city workers will be asked to work in an atmosphere of uncertainty.

Ward 2 alderman Donna Rouse said "The employees look to the department heads for leadership and this has created unrest. They're unsure what's happening and I feel that we owe the employees and the department heads a vote of confidence."

Raymond Collins at large"It's a day by day for every employee of the city because they serve at the will and the pleasure of the board so they just continue to serve," said Raymond Collins, alderman at large. "If he never makes a decision, they still serve."

Chief Compston says he will continue to do his job, but he can't be sure for how long. While he says he's curious as to what direction his career will take, he is certain things will work out for the best one way or another.

Wiggins residents packed into the board of alderman meeting. Some people told us they supported the mayor's veto because the police department isn't doing enough to fight drugs. Others say Chief Compston is doing a great job, and they believe the veto is the result of a personal conflict with the mayor.

by Danielle Thomas