Crime board issues continue after Council names themselves

WS logo by A.C. Hall The issues surrounding the White Settlement City Council’s removal of the crime board over budget concerns continued this week.  The action taken last week saw the council vote 4 – 1 to remove the crime board members and name the council as the new crime board.  This move has come under scrutiny from some citizens as well as Mayor Ronald A. White and council member Steve Ott, who voted against the action.   A specially called meeting was set for Monday that would continue to deal with this issue.  Agenda items for that meeting included going over purchasing procedures, discussing recent allegations over the misuse of the crime board funds, considering calling for an audit of the crime board budget, and considering re-instating the crime board members who were removed last week.  That meeting did not take place due to the lack of a quorum.  Council members Ott and Elzie Clements as well as Mayor White were present, but council members Danny Anderson, Mike Arnold, and Paul Moore were not. Despite the meeting not taking place, new information about this ongoing issue was released over the past week.  In an email to local media outlets, Mayor White stated that White Settlement Police Department Chief of Police Jack Ely has been placed on administrative leave. “I asked the City Manager, by email, for the reason this personnel action was taken,” Mayor White said in the email.  “His response was that an investigation was being conducted and he could not talk to me about it.” Seeking to confirm this, The Grizzly Detail spoke to City Manager Ryan, who said he couldn’t comment due to this being an open issue.  Ryan did not refer to the issue as an investigation, offering a different take on what was taking place. “There is an inquiry going on,” Ryan said. Ryan gave no confirmation that this inquiry involved Chief Ely and said he could not comment on Mayor White’s statement that Chief Ely had been placed on administrative leave.  Assistant City Manager Jeff James is handling the inquiry, but James also declined to comment on any particulars of the issue. In his email, Mayor White also called into question the evidence that Anderson said existed to back up claims that there were issues surrounding the crime board budget.  At the meeting last week, Anderson told Mayor White that the evidence was up at city hall, something Mayor White now disputes. “I went to the office of the City Manger as suggested and asked for the ‘evidence.’ I was told by the City Manager and the Assistant City Manager there was no evidence as suggested by City Councilman Anderson,” Mayor White said in his email.  Another issue that came up on Monday was the absence of the three council members.  Mayor White stated that Anderson’s mother was in the hospital, but indicated only that Arnold and Moore had prior engagements.  Clements was not pleased with that, saying to members of the audience that Mayor White was misrepresenting the reason for some of the absences.  When asked about the absences, City Manager Ryan said that Moore was ill and that’s the reason he gave for missing the meeting.  Arnold’s reason was that he had a prior engagement. Prior to the meeting on Monday, White expressed disappointment over the lack of attendance by council members but said it wasn’t unexpected.  Mayor White has already rescheduled the same agenda for this Thursday night at 7:00 pm. The Grizzly Detail reached out to Chief Ely over the past week offering him an opportunity to comment on these ongoing issues.  As of our print deadline, Chief Ely has not responded to those offers.