Warner Robins City Council voted to reinstate Police Chief Brett Evans one day after the mayor suspended him for a week without pay.
Wednesday, Mayor Chuck Shaheen suspended Evans for violating the city's political policy during last year's election.
Thursday, five of six council members voted to overturn that decision.
Seconds after a council vote to reinstate him to his job, Police Chief Brett Evans received congratulations, handshakes and hugs from at least two dozen police employees. They came to city hall for a special called meeting to show support for Evans.
Evans said, "I care about these people. That's why I do what I do everyday. For them to show up for me when that support needs to be mutual, I can't say thanks enough."
Evans would not talk about the mayor's decision to suspend him, or a report that said he violated the city's political policy, by supporting Chuck Chalk during last year's election. Warner Robins attorney Michael Moore came with Evans to the meeting to represent him.
During the meeting, Council member Bob Wilbanks said, "If you think one employee out of city of 500, made one statement about one election, you're pretty naive."
Wilbanks, Daron Lee and Mike Daley called the mayor's decision "unfair", because he singled out Evans, when they say other employees also became involved with the election.
Lee said, "Whether it's a sign in the yard or joining a fan club on Facebook, electronic or physical, it's all political support."
Only John Williams opposed reinstating Evans. He said his decision to support the mayor's decision was not personal, despite his arrest by the Warner Robins Police Department last month.
John Williams: "He's our chief CEO, and I support our mayor 100-percent. I urge the council to uphold his decision."
Shaheen stood by his decision saying, "We have not had a mayor here in 16 years. God has got me here. I'm going to make some mistakes. I don't think the suspension was a mistake."
He said he asked "all of the other department heads" if they publicly supported a candidate during the election. He said, "They told me no. So, he (Evans) violated the ordinance. I have to act upon it." He went on to say, "I can easily go back tomorrow and suspend him for 30 days on administrative leave, and the council can't do anything."
Shaheen said he will move forward with Evans returning to work, but still plans to continue his push to hire a public safety director. He says the position would create more accountability for the police and fire departments.
Some council members called a public safety director position unnecessary.
Paul Shealy said, "If we need a public safety director over the fire department and police department, what are our department heads there for?"
Mike Daley said, "We do not need another layer of management between our chiefs, who are in charge, and the mayor, who is our CEO. It's not a position we need, not a position we can afford."
Shaheen said the position would cost the city up to $85,000 a year, and was not included in this year's budget.
Council meets again Monday, when they are expected to talk about starting an "investigative internal audit". The item was on Thursday night's agenda, but council member Bob Wilbanks said it was tabled, because Paul Shealy asked him to delay a discussion.
Wilbanks said the audit would look into personnel and spending practices in the city, starting when Shaheen took office in January.