NEWS HEADLINES

City of Rhome officials jump ship

By Kristen Tribe | Published Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The city of Rhome lost almost every department head in just one week’s time.

Police Chief James Rose and Public Works Director Preston Gilliam resigned Monday, and Sherry Taylor, municipal court clerk, retired last week.

Only city secretary Ramah Burns is left.

Mayor Louis Godfrey confirmed the exodus Tuesday morning and said the city had already hired replacements for Rose and Taylor.

According to Godfrey, Brandon Davis was hired Tuesday as interim police chief of the Rhome department.

The mayor said Davis had been an officer “for a while.”

“He’s kept up his certification through the years,” he said. “He’s about to retire from the military. He’s a captain. He’s former military police. He was a police officer in another city.

“As soon as we knew (Rose) was resigning, we talked to (Davis).”

Rose declined to comment on his resignation. He’s been chief of police for six years.

Godfrey said Taylor retired to care for her husband, who is ill. Her replacement will be Sherrie Dast of River Oaks. Dast, who has previously worked as a court administrator, has filled in for Taylor on occasion.

Godfrey said they have no leads yet on a replacement for Gilliam. The former public works director did not return a call by press time Tuesday.

Council member JoAnn Wilson said the city will pull through the shuffling of city officials.

“We’ve got a good city, and we’ll survive all this,” she said. “The gentleman that is interim police chief has taken over, and we won’t miss a beat.

“We have a lady coming on board [the new municipal court clerk] that’s highly trained, and she’s already helping us out on a contract basis,” she said. “I think we’ll land on our feet.”

At a June 16 meeting, city council members approved amending an ordinance designating officers of the city. Godfrey said over the years many positions had been added to the ordinance, but last week’s action reduced it to the mayor, city secretary, city attorney and city administrator, if there was one.

The ordinance was also amended to give Godfrey the authority to hire and fire department heads without the council’s approval.

Since that time, three of the four have left, although Godfrey said no one was asked to resign or retire.

“It was like this some time back, and even Mark Lorance had that power years ago when he was here,” Godfrey said. “Some time back it was removed. They just put it back in the hands of the mayor.”

One Response to “City of Rhome officials jump ship”

  1. Jesse Lowry says:

    Louis Godfrey is lying when he said never asked anyone to resign.

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