The Goldsboro City Council committed Wednesday to pursue national accreditation standards through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies.

The council backed its decision by deciding to hire a CALEA accreditation manager to oversee the program within the Goldsboro Police Department, at an estimated annual salary of $62,000. With benefits, the total employee cost would be nearly $80,000.

The decision was made during the council's annual retreat, held at the Goldsboro Event Center.

Goldsboro Police Chief Mike West presented program details during the meeting, which was met with council interest in hiring a manager to launch the program.

"I say we start," Mayor Chuck Allen said. "It will be good to have someone here to bring in the program."

CALEA is a credentialing authority through the joint efforts of several national law enforcement associations and intended to improve the delivery of public safety services by maintaining a body of standards.

The program increases accountability, reduces risk and liability, provides a stronger defense against civil liability, includes support from government officials and involves community-oriented policing, West said.

"The CALEA accreditation process is a proven modern management tool," West said. "Once implemented, it presents the chief executive officer, on a continuing basis, with a blueprint that promotes the efficient use of resources and improves service delivery, regardless of the size, geographic location or functional responsibilities of the agency."

The main goals of CALEA are to strengthen crime prevention and control, establish fair and nondiscriminatory practices, improve service, solidify interagency coordination, formalize management procedures and increase community and staff confidence in a law enforcement agency.

The program allows agencies to demonstrate that they meet professional standards in developing written directives, a preparedness program and relationships within the community.

In addition to hiring an accreditation manager, other associated costs include a $11,500 enrollment fee and annual continuation fee of about $4,000.

City staff have already started working on a job description for the manager post, which will be advertised within weeks, said City Manager Scott Stevens.

The position will not increase the police department employee base, since the job will fill a current vacant position within the department.

Across North Carolina, 58 agencies have achieved national accreditation through the program, including the cities of Clayton, Clinton, Durham, Fayetteville, Garner, Greenville, Jacksonville, New Bern, Raleigh and Smithfield, West said.

Created in 1979, CALEA is a credentialing authority through the joint efforts of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, National Sheriffs' Association and the Police Executive Research Forum.

Also during the retreat, the council decided to launch a summer youth employment program, create a more focused approach to property demolitions and to reduce fees for city residents at the Goldsboro Municipal Golf Course.

The summer work program, recommended by Councilman Antonio Williams, is expected to include opportunities for teenagers between the ages of 14 and 18.

Williams asked if the city could tap into grant sources to support the program. Allen said the city could also provide funding, in an effort to start the program this year. Hourly pay could be between $7 to $7.50 an hour, with the work including such tasks as landscaping work at city recreation facilities and parks.

Williams said the program would offer teens a positive summer experience and allow them to earn money to buy such things as clothes for school.

Scott Barnard, Goldsboro parks and recreation director, presented a possible program that would cost the city $40,000 to rent a van, hire teens at $4.25 an hour and crew leaders at $10 an hour.

"You definitely have to pay them more than $4.25 an hour," Williams said.

Allen suggested the higher hourly pay, between $7 and $7.50. Instead of renting a van, the city could purchase one and use it for other city programs, he said.

"(Let's) see what we can do to engage as many kids as we can," Allen said. "There's plenty of work to be done in the city."

Mayor Pro Tem Bevan Foster recommended that the program expand in future years and possibly include job opportunities for teens throughout the county.

In other business, Councilman David Ham asked if the city could add a point-of-sale system to all city recreation facilities, including the Goldsboro Municipal Golf Course. The system would directly link membership and program fees to the city finance department.

He also said city residents should pay lower rates than people from outside the city limits.

"It's the same for city taxpayers and county taxpayers," Ham said. "Because city taxpayers pay for this (golf) course or contribute money to the course, they should be given some differential in terms of payment."

Councilman Bill Broadaway suggested city residents be given a 10 percent fee discount.

Councilman Gene Aycock said a larger discussion should take place between city and county officials about different fees for Goldsboro recreation programs.

"I think it's time we have a joint discussion with the county commissioners," Aycock said.

Allen said the city pursued different fee schedules in the past, which didn't offer much of an increase in revenue.

The council also discussed a more aggressive property demolition program in the city, which will be considered in more detail at a later date.

"I think if we're really going to clean this town up, then we're going to have to up our game to do it," Allen said. "We're never going to get there by doing 20 houses a year."

The council retreat continues today with discussions planned about council pay and benefits, dirt streets and traffic calming. The council will also finish updating the city's mission and vision statements.