COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — Columbus Mayor Skip Henderson has taken the first step to making interim police chief Stoney Mathis the next full-time chief.

During a brief executive session late Tuesday night, the mayor recommended Mathis to the city council as the next chief.

Mathis, the former chief in Chattahoochee Hills and Fairburn, has been in the interim role since Mid-May. He has been given a lot of leeway by the mayor – the city’s public safety director – to make changes in the department.

He has moved patrol from 10-hour shifts per day to two 12-hour shifts.

He replaced former Chief Freddie Blackmon, who retired under pressure in April.

“Mathis brings a new perspective to the Columbus Police Department,” Henderson said. “With his years of experience, knowledge of law enforcement, and his ability to build relationships while focusing on public safety will enhance the operations and the delivery of public safety for the citizens of Columbus.”

Mathis said in a prepared statement he was pleased to take over the full-time role.

“I’m excited about the opportunity to join the public safety team to serve and protect the citizens of Columbus,” he said. “It is an honor to work with the fine people of the Columbus Police Department and all of Public Safety for the betterment of Columbus. I look forward to working with the mayor, the administration, the council, and the community.”

Mathis gained widespread support from inside the department. He was also endorsed for the job by Muscogee County Sheriff Greg Countryman.

Before Mathis becomes the permanent chief, here’s what must happen.

— The mayor makes the recommendation that nominee must be confirmed by a vote of six members of the 10-member council.

— The recommendation can’t be voted on for at least 14 days under Georgia law. Oct. 10th is the earliest day there could be a vote.

Mathis has a law enforcement career that spans 30 years. He has an undergraduate degree from Cameron University in Lawton, Okla., and a master’s degree in public administration from Columbus State University.