An East Texas city's police chief is gone, and now one group wants other city leaders out.
Last month, after weeks of controversy, the City of Palestine fired their police chief, Robert Herbert.
During a crowded city council meeting on June 23rd, members of the community voiced their concerns about Herbert’s fitness to remain in office. However, firing the chief wasn't the only challenge presented to the city council that night. Citizens demanded new leadership.
This week, a group of voters in the City of Palestine asked the city's mayor and one councilmember to step down. The group's organizer says these city leaders have failed to lead the city effectively.
“If you're not going to be a leader in a leadership role, step down and let somebody else who can do the job do it,” said Nina Tatum.
Tatum is at the front of a group of eight local voters in the City of Palestine demanding the resignation of two city leaders.
“We're not fighting a losing battle. We're going in it to win because we don't think we're going to lose,” she said.
She says the city's apparent lack of action to settle the controversy surrounding their police chief is what prompted them to take action.
“One person is one voice, but a group can be heard a whole lot better and we found that as a group, the citizens' voice was being heard by city council and I believe that we took an active part in helping to resolve the issues within the police department and the dysfunction,” said Tatum.
Chief Herbert was fired last month after a management study revealed not a single officer thought he was fit to be a leader.
“We had half our police department willing to resign. You leave us with half a police department. Where is my safety? Where is my neighbor's safety? Where's the safety of that of the community?” she said.
Tatum says the group believes Mayor Thomas and councilmember Steve Presley have failed to resolve problems efficiently.
“That's their job to watch over us and they dropped the ball big time there,” she said.
However, Councilman Presley says the city is always working for the good of the community.
“Every city has problems. We do. We always will have problems and we are systematically addressing as many of the problems as we can,” he said.
The Palestine Recall Group says they plan to initiate recall efforts if the elected officials refuse to step down by Monday.
In response to the group's callout, the city responded as follows:
"The City of Palestine has been advised that a citizen action group will be conducting an effort to attempt a recall of elected officials. The group has communicated with the city via email. All citizen input is reviewed seriously by staff and City Council, and the city strives to work with all segments of the population. There is no action or comment the city can make on this announcment by a small number of individuals within the community at this time."
Saturday, July 26 2014 2:09 PM EDT2014-07-26 18:09:07 GMT
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