PRINCEVILLE — After a closed session that apparently became heated Monday night, Princeville town commissioner Calvin Sherrod asked the board to amend its agenda to allow commissioners to speak for three minutes. Commissioner comments had been removed from the agenda at least two years ago.
"We're going to try to move this town forward," Sherrod said. "We've been playing, playing. playing, playing and blab, blab, blab, blab, and that don't make any sense... I told them in closed session we're going to stop playing games.
"I think I have let the people down for three years. I haven't did nothing that I said I was coming here to do. From this day forward, I'm not taking no sides. I'm just going to do the people's business for this town."
Sherrod's comments were significant because traditionally he has sided with mayor Priscilla Everette-Oates and commissioner Isabelle Purvis-Andrews to make up the majority of the five-seat board. Most issues have come down to a 3-2 vote with the Everette-Oates, Purvis-Andrews, Sherrod side outvoting commissioners Gwen Knight and Ann Howell.
One of the issues that may have led to Sherrod's comments was the rehiring of interim town manager Maggie Boyd. Boyd was hired as town manager in February with Everette-Oates, Purvis-Andrews and Sherrod voting in favor and Knight and Howell opposing.
After the Local Government Commission took over the town's finances in July, the town manager's position was eliminated from the budget. Shortly thereafter, though, the board voted 3-2 to rehire Boyd as town manager.
It is not clear if LGC has a position labeled for a town manager. However there is a position that can be used by an employee to carry out some of the town manager's duties, although it is only a 15 hour per month slot.
In August, Sherrod was adamant about rehiring Boyd, adding a stipulation that she keep the position for no more than 30 days. Since then, he has expressed concerns about her still serving as interim town manager.
Monday's closed session may have been about Boyd's rehire, but no action was taken. As board members walked out, they were apparently arguing among themselves as they returned to the regular session. During the regular session Sherrod said he was against an extension for Boyd, although no other comments were made about her or the manager's position.
During the public comment session, former mayor Delia Perkins asked the board to place Boyd on a schedule to allow citizens who may have questions to be able to contact her. Boyd's schedule has been erratic and she sometimes works after business hours, Perkins said.
In other business, the board approved to eliminate the town's K-9 program and sell its dog to its handler, Sgt. William Barnes, for $1. Barnes was recently placed on administrative leave after he was charged with domestic violence. He was also charged by the Department of Motor Vehicles with obtaining property by false pretense, altering a title and felony conspiracy. Police Chief Joey Petway did not say whether or not Barnes had been terminated. Petway also announced officer Steve Greene had returned to the department after several months on sick leave.
And during the newly added commissioner's comments, Knight said, "I commend Calvin Sherrod for standing up (and) for being his own person and not following others."
Purvis Andrews said, "I'm praying for the town and I'm still working for the town. I have not stopped and I will never stop trying to work for the citizens of the town."
Everette-Oates said, "We have worked tirelessly for Princeville. It was a lot of corruption interruptions, but I believe God is in the midst and I believe that he is going to stop the corruption and the interruption for the town of Princeville. Don't be deceived. We know what happened in the last three years."
Howell said, "I would like to say, I hoped that each and every one of you had a blessed Thanksgiving and I'm happy to see you out here tonight and I hope that you will continue to come."
Princeville's next scheduled meeting has been moved up to Dec. 17 due to the Christmas Holiday.