Amory moves to make police chief an appointed post

AMORY – The board of aldermen voted 4-1 to change the position of chief of police from an elected to an appointed position during an executive session of it’s regular-called meeting on Dec. 4.

“This has been discussed before. Out of 275 cities and towns in our state, only 11 still have this as an elected position. We are just changing our organization to fit that model,” Mayor Howard Boozer said.

Alderman-at-large Tommy Wilkerson made the motion to amend the change and Ward 2 alderman John Darden seconded it. Ward 3 alderman Tony Poss voted in favor of the motion, as well as Ward 4 alderman Bill Lyle. Ward 1 alderman Buddy Carlisle voted against.

Under Mississippi Code 21-3-3, municipalities have the option to make certain positions appointed rather than elected.

“The change will come in the form of an ordinance. Once the ordinance is published it will become effective after 30 days,” said city clerk Lee Barnett.

The board’s actions caught police chief Ronnie Bowen by surprise.

” I was told that city attorney John Creekmore was instructed to provide me a letter if there were any changes but he has not,” Bowen said.

Bowen went on to say that that he was aware that the aldermen had voted to make the position an appointed one based on a conversation with Creekmore, as well as a conversation with another alderman Tuesday night.

Creekmore had no comment.

Bowen will serve out his term which ends in June 2013. He has been police chief for 19 years and was first elected on May 18,  1993.

The city of Aberdeen is also currently moving to change their chief of police to an appointed position. However, Aberdeen operates under a special charter common to other pre-civil war towns which dictates that the Governor must approve the amendment.

“Amory is younger and we are under a code charter. Statutorily, code charter towns are covered under the option to do this,” said Boozer.

 

  • Mike O

    Hope this decision to change how the city does business is not taken as a negative mark against Chief Bowen.

  • mike r

    if this happens amory will have new alderman next election

  • Stanton

    This is a blatant power grab by Mayor Boozer! He has proven to be an incapable and rough handed demagogue. They have provided no other reason for this change than that other municipalities do this. I hope the citizens of Amory will realize a voting right has been stolen with no notice or chance to comment on the action. Mr. Darden nor Mr. Boozer will get my vote from now on. the change of the city clerk position to an appointed position has not produced good results or stability. There have been two city clerks within two years. This is nothing more than the silencing of Amory’s most capable and honest city official so that a political crony of Mayor Boozer’s canbe installed to do his bidding.

    It’s an outrage and an assault in the voting rights of the citizens of Amory!

  • BENNY HILL

    UNLIKE MOST OF THESE PEOPLE ON THE BOARD NOW, THEY HAVE NOT SERVED THIS CITY LIKE CHIEF BOWEN HAS, HE STARTED WHEN HE WAS 18 YEARS OLD HE.WAS THEN ELECTED CHIEF SOME 19 YEARS AGO. HE HAS DEVOTED HIS WORKING LIFE TO THE AMORY POLICE DEPT, AND WE LIVE IN ONE OF THE SAFEST TOWNS IN MISSISSIPPI, THANKS TO CHIEF BOWEN AND THE GREAT DEPT THAT HE OVERSEES. SO NOW SOME 30 OR SO YEARS LATER THIS IS THE THANKS HE GETS. AMORY , THEY ARE TRYING TO TAKE AWAY YOU RIGHT TO VOTE ON WHO RUNS THIS TOWN, THATS WHY WE HAVE THE RIGHT TO STOP THIS BEFORE IT GOES ANY FUTHER. SO IF YOU LIVE AND VOTE IN AMORY,SHOW UP ON DEC, 18 AT 6 PM AT CITY HALL TO LET THEM KNOW WHAT YOU THINK HOW YOU WILL VOTE.