The Tennessee Coalition for Open Government has criticized how Ridgetop’s mayor and aldermen had little to no transparency when alerting the public that they might vote to do away with the city’s police department.
As The Tennessee Star reported this month, Ridgetop City Council members voted to do away with the city’s police force because of what some people say is the mayor’s hurt ego and his vendetta against the now-former police chief. As The Star reported in March, then-Police Chief Bryan Morris said Mayor Tony Reasoner and Vice Mayor McCaw Johnson were out to cripple his department.
TCOG Executive Director Deborah Fisher said on the organization’s website that the public notice given for this particular board of aldermen meeting was vague.
“Saying only in the public notice for the June 10 meeting that the meeting was “on the budget and police department” seems to leave out the fairly significant nugget that the board would be voting that night on dissolving it. And there is some question why the notice was not on the website,” Fisher wrote.
“Put yourself in the seat of the Ridgetop mayor and aldermen. If you were having a meeting in which you might vote on eliminating the police department, how would you flag citizens that such an important vote was upcoming?”
Also as The Star reported, the Ridgetop Police Department isn’t finished serving and protecting just yet.
Robertson County Judge Bill Goodman has signed a temporary restraining order that will allow the Ridgetop Police Department to resume operations.
“Ridgetop Mayor Tony Reasoner announced the dissolution in a special-called meeting last week, saying the city of 1.4 square miles (3 square kilometers) and about 2,000 residents just couldn’t afford a police department anymore,” according to The AP.
“The plaintiffs in the civil suit against the city include Ridgetop Police Department Chief Bryan Morris and two police officers. A preliminary hearing on the restraining order was set for July 1. City officials have scheduled a meeting on Monday.”
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