Glynn County officially terminated former county police Chief John Powell’s employment last week.
In a letter dated Jan. 7, county manager Alan Ours wrote that 10 months after Powell was indicted on malfeasance charges, it is unclear when he might be able to return to work. His termination was effective the same day.
The charges stem from alleged cover-ups of an undercover officer’s affair with an informant, an ethics breach that scandalized the police department and imploded the long-standing countywide narcotics enforcement squad.
Powell was placed on leave and is awaiting trial.
Ours’ letter states Bainbridge District Attorney Joe Mulholland plans to re-indict Powell in the case. Mulholland took over the case in 2020 after former Brunswick Circuit District Attorney Jackie Johnson recused herself.
Powell’s basic law enforcement officer certification has been suspended by the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council, a requirement of the police chief position, the letter by Ours notes.
“Without a definitive date for your return to work, and after taking into account that you have already been on paid administrative leave for over 10 months, a continued open-ended leave of absence is unreasonably indefinite and places an undue hardship on Glynn County and its ability to properly and efficiently utilize taxpayer funds and manage its personnel system,” the letter reads. “In addition, it has also been determined that there are not currently any vacant alternative positions with equivalent pay and benefits within the county for which you would qualify.”
Powell was first hired by the county in January 2016 as director of Community Services, where he oversaw and coordinated the county fire, emergency medical services, animal control and emergency management agencies. He was appointed interim police chief in September 2017 to replace the retiring Matt Doering. The interim tag was taken off in January 2018.
Powell was placed on administrative leave in late February 2020 after he and four others were indicted on various charges related to the GBNET scandal.