Jackson County

Moss Point aldermen will seek more candidates for police chief’s job

Wayne Lennep
Wayne Lennep

Moss Point city leaders interviewed the sixth candidate for Moss Point police chief Tuesday night, but then decided at the Board of Aldermen meeting to hold on the applicants they have and continue the search for additional candidates.

“We have some impressive applicants, but some aldermen would like to see a larger pool of candidates,” Alderman Wayne Lennep said Tuesday night. “The board has decided to hold all current applications and reopen the position.

“I’d like to know if there is more interest out there or if people are holding back because it is the end of an administration.

“It almost seems a little unfair to (the applicants) to come in and take a chance of leaving their existing job when they don’t know what that next board is going to do with them.”

Assistant Chief Brandon Ashley did not apply for the job because of that uncertainty. The police chief is an at-will employee who loses any civil service protection. Because a new administration will be taking over soon, whoever is hired will have to wait and see if the city votes to hire them again.

Municipal elections are in May. The general election follows in June.

The city is replacing Chief Art McClung. A vote for a replacement is not listed on Tuesday night’s agenda.

Last fall, the city voted to fire McClung but then allowed him to resign after a Sun Herald report on McClung’s traffic stop in Pascagoula, during which he told officers he had had “at least three vodkas.”

Lennep said he wanted the new administration to appoint the next chief.

The board on Tuesday interviewed Christopher C. Canaski, who lives in Kiln and works at the Superdome in New Orleans. He’s a former police chief for Cordova, Alaska.

The other candidates:

▪  Biloxi police Cpl. George Chaix, who lives in Biloxi, a crime scene supervisor.

▪  Moss Point police Cmdr. Stacey V. Deans, who lives in Ocean Springs.

▪  Louis C. “L.C.” Fairley, who lives in McClain. A former chief of New Augusta, he ran for George County sheriff but did not win.

▪  Joe Sellers, a former Moss Point police officer who lives in Moss Point.

▪  Lamar Underwood, a former Pascagoula police detective who lives in Moss Point.

Margaret Baker: 228-896-0538, @Margar45