February 10, 2006--Posted at 3:15 am
JOINER-- The city of Joiner is upset after the mayor vetoes a vote to reinstate the city's police chief...
Joiner Police Chief Anthony Smith wants his job back and is claiming he was unfairly terminated by the city's mayor.
The Joiner city council met in closed session last night to decide the chief's fate.
Mayor Kevin Love fired the former chief two months after he returned home from Iraq.
Smith says he believes he was fired because of injuries he sustained in the war.
Mayor Love denies Smith's allegations and says smith was fired for insubordination.
However, after an investigation by the Department of Labor, Smith was told he should not have been fired from his job.
It was a heated discussion last night in Joiner as the city council argued over Anthony Smith's future as chief of police.
Smith says he was never given a reason for his termination as Joiner's police chief, but as he sat among residents who filed into city hall to support him, he demanded answers...
"I could talk to you tonight while you're here instead of dispersing again cause I've been trying to track you down for six months," Former Police Chief Anthony Smith says as he addresses the council.
And although Mayor Kevin Love was hesitant to discuss Smith's termination, he was overruled by his own council...
"I make a motion that we go into closed session and discuss it and get is over with... One way or the other," one council member says. "I second it," says another member.
After a lengthy discussion in closed session, the mayor announced that the council had voted 4 to 2 to reinstate Anthony Smith as police chief... A decision the mayor says he was not in support of.
He vetoed the council's vote... And cites insubordination as terms for Smith's dismissal.
A reason the council says the mayor can't back up.
"That's about all I can say, I think he got the shaft," City Council member Ray Becknell says.
"I think he should have a second chance," City Council member Opal Lindley says.
"I feel like before it's over with, we'll be in court," Becknell says.
Most council members agree a lawsuit will most likely be filed against the city.
As for Mayor Kevin Love, he says he's confident in his decision... So much that he did not even include the city attorney in the meeting. And as to the council's decision to reinstate Smith...
"I'm going to get some legal advice on this. I know exactly what happened. The council wasn't there," Mayor Kevin Love says.
"I don't think he understands the constitution of the law as a mayor," Smith says.
"I have had problems with this council all along," Love says.
"I don't want to say anything negative, but I think everything speaks for itself considering his own character," Smith says.
Anthony Smith may have nearly lost his life in the war, but he says this is a battle he will win...