By CALVIN ADKINS
THE DAILY SOUTHERNER
PRINCEVILLE – The Town of Princeville's board of commissioners fired the interim town manager, adopted a policy that requires the police chief to punch a time clock and rescinded the police department’s standard operating procedure (SOP) during a chaotic meeting Monday night.
Although departmental reports, the approval of minutes and citizens and commissioners comments were on the agenda, the vast majority of action occurred following a closed session.
A heated exchange reached it's peak when commissioner Ann Howell, who is the senior member on the board, made a motion to terminate Boyd to allow the board to move forward and hire a town manager. The motion passed 3-1 with commissioners Gwen Knight and Calvin Sherrod joining Howell while commissioner Isabelle Purvis-Andrews voted against it. With Sherrod casting his vote with Howell and Knight, mayor Priscilla Everette-Oates had no vote to cast as hers is allowed only in he case of a tie. The termination was the third time Boyd has been fired since she was appointed interim town manager in February 2012.
Boyd was hired by a 3-2 after the board terminated former town manager Victor Marrow. Howell and Knight have been against the hire from the beginning, openly stating they feel Boyd is not qualified.
After LGC took over the town’s finances last July, it cut the town manager’s position from the budget and left two positions including a full-time clerk and a clerk that works 15 hours a week. Everette-Oates filled the part-time position with Boyd and then appointed her to resume the responsibilities as the town manager.
he vote was not an easy one as Everette-Oates attempted to keep Boyd as clerk, arguing Howell's motion was to fire Boyd as interim town manager.
In a last ditch effort to keep Boyd, Everette-Oates alleged Howell had said LGC told her it has money to hire a town manager. She recommended keeping Boyd until the LGC can give them proof money is in the budget to hire a town manager. She also said it was unfair the commission only told Howell about the available funds.
“LGC is overstepping their role,” Everette-Oates said. “They do not have control over personnel. If they are using money to control our (employment) positions, that’s a violation of the town rights.”
Howell denied Everette-Oates' allegations.
“I said the monies have improved. I didn't say the monies were there,” Howell told the mayor.
While Everette-Oates gave up on keeping Boyd as manager, she attempted to keep her as clerk. That effort was stopped just before the mayor called for a motion to close the meeting when Knight asked for a motion to terminate Boyd as clerk.
That motion stayed on the table for about five minutes before Sherrod voted for firing Boyd as the clerk. Doing the 5-minute spree the mayor argued her points for keeping Boyd. On at least two occasions Sherrod said he was not going to vote again because he had already voted to terminate Boyd. After a final call, Sherrod gave in and the motion passed 3-1 in the same manner as the motion to terminate Boyd as manager.
“I have not seen anything in writing, therefore I think it is unwise to remove anybody,” Everette-Oates said. “She’s not getting paid anyway. She volunteers. The (town) charter states that we should have a manager.”
During the discussion the mayor threatened to kick county commissioner Viola Harris and former Princeville mayor Delia Perkins out for disrupting the meeting.
The majority of the chaos occurred after the board returned from a closed session lasting more than 30 minutes where they apparently discussed rescinding the police department’s standard operation procedures, establishing a policy that makes the police chief punch a time clock and firing Boyd. They may have also discussed allowing the attorney to send correspondence to State Auditor Beth Wood, but Everette-Oates did not go into details about the issue as she made a motion.
Part two of the meeting will be in Thursday’s paper.