Do you remember the story of the openly lesbian South Carolina police chief, Crystal Moore, who was fired a couple of months ago by a homophobic mayor? After 23 years on the force with a spotless record, Moore received seven formal reprimands in a single day from Mayor Earl Bullard. Yeah, he was that same mayor who was recorded disparaging homosexuals and saying he’d rather have an intoxicated alcoholic watch his kids than gay people.
At the time, more than 18,000 members of the Care2 community were outraged at the mayor’s bigoted abuse of power, signing a petition calling for Moore to be reinstated as police chief.
Fortunately, the majority of residents of Latta agreed with these thousands of petition-signers. This past Tuesday, town members turned out to the polls to take some action of their own. By a vote of 328 to 147, citizens agreed to shift power away from Mayor Bullard.
That’s right: town members considered Bullard such a bad mayor that they stripped all future mayors of power, too. Going forward, many of the important decisions will be handed to the Town Council instead.
Meanwhile, the Town Council expressed that one of their first acts would be to reappoint Moore to her previous position as police chief. The only thing that was delaying them by a couple of days was that the voting results that transferred this power had to be officially certified first. “I’m ecstatic,” Moore said after learning of the results. “Words cannot describe.”
Woo-hoo! The power of the people prevails. I was all ready to type up one of Care2’s signature “Success!” posts and congratulate the Care2 community for spreading awareness of this injustice until the story took yet another soap opera-like plot twist…
Knowing that he was days away from losing much of his power, Mayor Bullard used one of his final moments to appoint a new police chief. Instead of reinstating Moore, which might have been his best “mea culpa” move, he appointed an officer named Freddie Davis to take over the position.
“I have went from being ecstatic, overwhelmed, not able to speak to crushed again,” Moore acknowledged. Though clearly underhanded and spiteful, this late appointment is questionable and likely to be subject to legal challenges.
“It’s just one more slap in the face to the citizens of Latta,” said Jarett Taylor, a Town Councilman. “He loses his authority to hire people and decides to hire a new police chief just as his ability to hire employees slips away from him… His actions today just once again show he doesn’t care about the people of Latta. Nothing matters to him but his own personal agenda and thumbing his authority in our faces.”
Council members, however, are optimistic that Davis will hold this position for all of a few days before they rightfully reinstate Moore. Even going by the previous rules, local ordinances mandate that the mayor had to notify the Town Council of making this kind of appointment, and Bullard did not seek their approval before making his vindictive choice, thereby negating the contract Bullard prepared for Davis. Although there’s a chance Latta may have to pay Davis his salary regardless, the Town Council continues to pledge that Moore will have her job back by next week.
So… “success” after all, it seems! Not just for Moore, but the whole town of Latta. Usurping Bullard’s power is almost certainly a smart idea for the entire community anyway.