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Letter to the Editor:
In early 2018, The Altus City Council began discussing possible changes to the City Charter. This is the City Charter that was voted on and approved by the citizens of Altus in 2013. These “Special Meetings” were held on the second floor and in a small conference room at City Hall. The meetings were held under the disguise of an agenda item labeled “Operational Updates.” For six months the council discussed changing the three elected department heads to appointed positions, without any input or discussion from our citizens. When I first became aware of this plan, in the February meeting, I responded by saying “So councilmembers are going to decide to take the voices away from our citizens.”
The first time these discussions became public was at a regularly scheduled Council meeting in June. In this meeting, I and other audience members voiced concerns about leaving the citizens of Altus “in the dark” and not allowing discussion from the citizens about why our City felt the need to have the elected department heads, Chief of Police, Street Commissioner, and the City Clerk-Treasurer, appointed.
As your Chief of Police for the past seven years, I’ve worked extremely hard to earn your trust. Trust is earned by honest, ethical and fair behavior. As your Chief, I promote an environment of honest, ethical behavior and insist on the same from the officers at the police department. I believe in transparency, which also builds trust between the police and our citizens. I hold myself to a higher standard of behavior because it’s the right thing to do and because the citizens of Altus have an expectation of honest, ethical and fair behavior from your Chief of Police.
As an elected Chief of Police, I work for the citizens of Altus. Citizens currently have a choice on who they elect as their Chief of Police. If the Charter proposals pass on November 6th, you’ve given up your voice to vote on these three department heads. Let me say that I am extremely proud of every member of the police department and what officers and employees do for our citizens and our community every day. I’m certain the officers would agree with me. Your safety and welfare is our top priority! As an appointed Chief, I would work for and would be expected to be loyal to one person, the City Manager! An appointed Chief of Police would do as the City Manager desires or suffer the consequences.
The November 6th vote, if approved by our citizens, would most certainly compromise the allegiance between the three elected department heads and our citizens. If approved on November 6th, your police department would go back to the “Good Ole Boy” system of government. VOTE AGAINST THESE CHARTER PROPOSALS ON NOVEMBER 6TH.
I encourage the citizens of Altus to exercise your right to vote on November 6th. Send a loud message to our councilmembers. You, the citizens of Altus, will vote on who your Chief of Police, Street Commissioner and City Clerk-Treasurer will be and not allow the City Manager to appoint these positions.
ON NOVEMBER 6TH, VOTE AGAINST CHARTER PROPOSALS.