Voters in Latta, South Carolina, opted by a more than 2-to-1 margin Tuesday night to scrap their strong-mayor government in favor of a more powerful city council. The referendum came after widespread revulsion over Mayor Earl Bullard's unilateral decision in April to fire the town's first-ever female police chief, Crystal Moore.Crystal Moore wasn't just the small town's first female police chief, but their first(?) gay police chief, and that seems to be the reason the mayor fired her. He didn't say so directly, of course, but made it pretty clear where he stood:
"I would much rather have.. and I will say this to anybody's face... somebody who drank too much taking care of my child than I had somebody whose lifestyle is questionable around children...."So a drunken police chief would presumably be just fine, but a gay police chief? Right out.
Bullard refused multiple requests from the city council to reinstate Moore, so they put a referendum on the ballot stripping him of the power to hire and fire town officials. Yesterday Latta voters made it official, and the council seeks to reinstate Moore as quickly as possible. But the mayor isn't giving up without a fight; this morning he announced that he had hired a new police chief, so there.
The announcement about Davis' hiring comes one day after voters approved a referendum Tuesday to change the town's form of government giving council more power than the mayor.Sounds like a real piece of work, that mayor. Can't wait to see what referendum the town puts on the ballot next.
Davis was hired one week before the referendum, around June 18, and the contract was signed on June 23, Bullard said.