Tobias joins police force

EARLY— It seems Early High School student Jody “Jay” Wilder Jr. will turn pro early after signing a contract to join the city of Early after graduation.

Wilder Jr. agreed to a $35,000 annual contract, with medical benefits, as part of the city of Early’s first National Signing Day commitment Wednesday afternoon.

“Just as top athletes are signing their letters of intent to various universities and athletic programs on this, the national signing day so today we are signing our top high school recruit to the city of Early’s team,” Early Mayor Robert Mangrum said. “We are committing to investing in city employees and their growing technical and vocational skills. Consider this as a workforce under construction. Such a workforce will not only benefit the individual but will contribute to the continued success of the city of Early and our citizens.”

Although foregoing college for a professional career, Wilder’s education is far from complete. City administrator Tony Aaron said Wilder will soon obtain a commercial drivers license, public water distribution license and sewer operator license as well as many other skills he will further develop while an employee with the city of Early. Aaron said Wilder was the perfect candidate for the inaugural city signing day and is hopeful for more candidates like him in the future.

“Our world can’t exist on just people with college degrees. There are other levels of success and this is one that is here, right now, before us,” Aaron said. “Jay has been an awesome employee. He has been here since May 31 of 2016 so he has been here nearly two and a half years. Quickly, he developed into one of those employees you can trust on a Saturday working by himself. He doesn’t need anyone standing right over him to make sure he’s working.”

The contract is contingent upon Wilder finishing his high school education. Wilder said Wednesday ceremony felt like the culmination of years of effort.

“It feels like my hard work is paying off. It feels like I have a hold on life and I took a major step,” Wilder said. “I will be prepared after I get out of high school. I will actually have something. I won’t just get out of high school and not know what I’m going to do. I’m going to have a chance.”

Wilder was not the only new city of Early employee to sign on this week. During Tuesday’s Early City Council meeting, Early Police Chief David Mercer introduced the department’s newest officer Tasha Tobias, who will work part-time. Mercer said Tobias will remain part time until a full-time position opens up or the city of Early budgets an additional full-time position in its 2020 budget. Tobias was sworn in Tuesday night.

“When we did that I thought, I’m not going to be able to find anybody to do it part-time,” Mercer said. “Not only did we find somebody, we found somebody perfect. We interviewed several and it was an overwhelming majority that chose Tasha. She lives in Brownwood, she’s a Brownwood High School graduate and she also works for Brownwood ISD full-time. Now, she’s going to work for us part time until something comes up or we get to our next budget and add another full-time (officer).”