AMORY – The mood was tense at Tuesday evening’s board of aldermen meeting as concerned citizens filled the board room waiting to voice opinions regarding the board’s decision to rescind Ordinance No. 1677 requiring that the office of police chief be appointed.
“Men are fighting for our freedom and one of those freedoms is the right to vote. You took our rights away when you appointed the city clerk. We are a unique town and we want our rights as citizens. I want to know why this happened and I think you owe us an apology,” said Amory citizen Rex Coker, who was met with applause from the crowd.
City attorney John Creekmore stated that during a special-called meeting on Monday, Dec. 17, the board met with Chief Ronnie Bowen and Bowen’s attorney. After an agreement was reached in an executive session, the board voted 4-1 to keep the position an elected, rather than an appointed one.
While the overwhelming majority showed their support of the ordinance being rescinded, some citizens did raise questions regarding Bowen’s performance.
“I’m disappointed that this board brought something forward and then rescinded it. Bowen has not been a team player and I’ve seen it. He won’t come to meetings. He won’t cooperate with the rest of the community. I feel more comfortable calling the sheriff’s department than him,” said Martha Dalrymple.
As to the decision to rescind, alderman Tony Poss stated that he had not thought it through earlier when he voted to make the position appointed.
“I’ve had family issues and wasn’t thinking clearly. We are all voters and my dad always taught me to listen to the people.”
For alderman John Darden, it was merely an issue of communication.
“After Ronnie and his attorney presented their information, I changed my mind. He made a commitment and I agree with it.”
During Monday’s special-called meeting, Alderman Bill Lyle was selected to serve as police commissioner and act as a liaison between the police department and the board of aldermen.
For more information, check out the Dec. 26 edition of the Monroe Journal