Home News-Premium Council hires and fires police officers; fails to pass 2019-2020 budget

Council hires and fires police officers; fails to pass 2019-2020 budget

File Photo | Minden City Hall

Will Phillips

Minden Press-Herald

Police hires, police fires, and the annual budget were the topics of note addressed during September’s Minden City Council Meeting. 

The police hire was brought up early in the meeting and the individual up for the position was Matthew Hicks. “Matthew Hicks has worked with the City of Minden prior. He is an excellent officer, well trained, and post certified. He’s got a lot of law enforcement experience and I’m glad to have him back as a police officer in Minden,” said Minden Police Chief Steve Cropper. When brought to a vote the motion passed unanimously.

They also took time to acknowledge a new part-time police officer Kendale Booker, of whom the Minden Police Department is looking to hire on as a full-time police officer in the future. 

After the hiring of a police officer, the next item on the agenda was the termination of one. The Council went into executive session while they determined the best disciplinary action to take for one Brandon Shane Griffith, one of two police officers that stirred up controversy a few months ago on Facebook posts and comments they allegedly made containing offensive language and material circulated was brought into the public eye.

The executive session stretched on for more than two hours. Afterward, the members of the city council decided to terminate Griffith. The vote was unanimous.

Following that, the motion to approve the annual budget was up to vote. Councilman Terika Williams – Walker then interjected, raising some of her concerns about the budget. 

“When we were talking about the possible sale of Griffith Stadium, it was said that unless it was in the budget where the money was allocated, then it wouldn’t go for that. So before, I need to know if it’s in the budget, where the money would go, the sale of Griffith Stadium,” said Walker. 

“The sale of Griffith Stadium is not in the budget. We haven’t even got the appraisal back. If Griffith Stadium is sold, we can talk about it, before we decide if we’re going to sell it, where the money is going to go, then we can amend that budget to spend those monies wherever we decide,” said Mayor Terry Gardner. 

“That’s not what Michael Fluhr said, he said, if it’s not in the budget, then the monies wouldn’t go there, that’s what he said in the workshop. Because I specifically asked about it,” said Walker. 

“The money goes into the general fund. The revenue for the sale of Griffith Stadium is not in the budget,” said Micahel Fluhr City Clerk/Treasurer. 

Walker then said, “If we can both designate where the money is going, it’s different. But based on what he said, was that if it wasn’t in the budget, then the monies wouldn’t go there. That was my issue with the budget, and also, the items that I put on my wishlist to go into the budget, were they included in the budget?”

“No. Mrs. Walker, I asked you in the workshop, if you wanted something in the budget, you have to give me an idea of how much I have to put in the budget,” said Fluhr. 

“And I told you I was not going to get an estimate for work to be done. You asked for a wishlist, and I gave it to you. I’m not the contractors, I’m not the city employees, I’m not the one that’s responsible for doing it, therefore I told you then that I was not going to get an estimate for the wishlists,” said Walker. 

“Mrs. Walker I informed you exactly how to proceed. If you want to have something in the budget, it is not coming to me and giving me a list with no money allocated at all. I informed you how to do it. You did not do it.”

After a few more minutes of discussion, the motion to approve the budget came to a vote. Councilmen Keith Beard and Pam Bloxom voted in favor, and Councilmen Vincen Bradford, Herbert Taylor, and Terika Walker voted opposed. The motion failed. 

Later on, when discussing the monthly financial report, Fluhr let the Council know that the revenue from sales tax was $41,000 over the anticipated amount. He said that the reason for this was “due to collecting delinquent taxes.” The total amount the city received from this  effort totaled $72,000. 

The Minden City Council Meeting is open to the public and takes place on a monthly basis. They occur on the first Monday of each month and start at 5:30 at the Minden Civic Center.