ABERDEEN, Miss. (WCBI)- The Mayor’s town hall meeting tonight in Aberdeen certainly wasn’t short on excitement.
Dozens showed up to voice their opinion about the board of alderman’s recent decision to change the city’s police chief from an elected to appointed position.
Edward Haynes was one of those residents who’s against changing the position.
“You think we’re too ignorant to be able to cast our vote for the right candidate and that three people could make that vote for the 8,000 people that live in this city,” says Haynes.
Dozens of Aberdeen residents flooded Mayor Belle’s town hall meeting wanting answers, but instead say Mayor Belle dodged their questions.
“None of my questions were answered, none of the other questions were answered. He sugar-coated everything and swept it under the rug. Now my thing is I came out as a resident, I wanted answers and I did not get any answers,” says Lady Garth.
Last month, city leaders voted to change the city’s special charter, taking out remaining offensive language and changing the police chief’s position, from an election to an appointed position. Something Garth thinks is ridiculous.
” He’s throwing out about slavery and derogatory things like that. Nobody’s worried about things like that anymore. Our constitutional rights, the U.S. Constitution has taken care of all of that. I feel like he’s using that as a pretense for a hidden agenda and that shouldn’t be the case either,” says Garth.
Residents also don’t think the city is financially equipped to change the police chief’s position.
“Are we gonna get the same benefits those towns are getting? The answer? He didn’t have did he! Is he going to give us more patrols at night! No! Because our budget doesn’t fit it our cars are falling apart right now with our police department,” says Haynes.
Garth wants the board and the mayor need to be straight-forward.
“If you’re gonna be a public figure, be honest, do your job, be fair. And I don’t see any of that with this board we have now!,” says Garth.
Since the decision was made, supporters of Police Chief Henry Randle have been circulating petitions calling for a referendum on the issue. They need about 500 signatures to call for a vote.
We reached out to city officials. They declined to comment.