Latta council votes to block Mayor from hiring police chief replacement

Latta council votes to block Mayor from hiring police chief replacement (Image 1)

The Latta Town Council voted unanimously in two key measures Tuesday night in support of fired Police Chief Crystal Moore.

The council was having an emergency meeting to address the firing of Moore last week by Mayor Earl Bullard.

Since her firing, there has been a landslide of support for Moore – and questions from townsfolk if she was fired because she is openly gay.

The council voted 6-0 on an “emergency ordinance” that blocks the Mayor from hiring anyone to fill the police chief job for about two months.

Last week, the council voted to allow a town-wide referendum in 60 days on whether to change the basic governing structure of the town from “mayor-strong” to “council-strong” – which would strip some powers from the Mayor.

Council members say that if the town becomes council-strong-mayor-weak within 60 days they will vote to re-hire Chief Moore.

“I don’t want to make an irresponsible decision now to hire somebody and do it hastily because of current situations and to find out 60 or 70 days down the road that we have all intentions of hiring Chief Moore …. and that person is left high and dry,” said Council member Jarrett Taylor.

The second vote of the night – also 6-0 – was to show support Moore, who had been with the police department for more than 20 years.

That vote was symbolic.

The Mayor was not at the meeting, which was held at Ellis Performing Arts Center at Latta High School.

Moore was just outside and hugged several supporters after the votes.

Previous stories:

Latta Police Chief is fired, sources say

Residents question why Latta mayor fired the town’s first female police chief

Latta council votes for referendum to weaken mayor after police chief fired

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