Marlin loses Police Chief over hearsay
A Friday night meeting has left the City of Marlin without a Police Chief, yet again.
In a vote of 5 to 2, during the third specially called meeting of the week, the council decided not to accept Chief Lawrence McCall’s letter of rescinded resignation.
“We listened to those issues and concerns that he brought before us,” Mayor Carolyn Lofton told reporters. “At the end of the day, we decided to not accept his recension.”
After all was said and done, it looks as though the whole situation began with a huge misunderstanding, though it may look like the conflict began over missed monthly reports.
"There's no report. I need to see your monthly report. Did you do a monthly report?" Lofton asked during the May 12 meeting.
A previously drafted letter of resignation was given to councilmen Scottie Henderson and Terrence McDavid after the adjournment of the meeting, with the reasoning being that they were the only two still on the premises that evening.
“The rest of them were gone,” McCall said, though Lofton maintains that there were five council members on site, herself included.
The next day, a story aired on KXXV Channel 25, who’s staff had received knowledge of the resignation letter. It was during an interview that city officials received word of the possible resignation.
“"We didn't get a letter of resignation last night at council," Davis told them.
It raised frustrations that media personnel had the information before officials, though it later came out that it was not McCall that showed it to reporters.
In an attempt to prevent further conflict with the situation, McCall planned to hand-deliver both the monthly reports and a drafted letter to council members at their home. Upon arrival, McCall was turned away from Lofton’s home due to a personal situation.
A meeting at City Hall was scheduled for Thursday, during the interaction, where the two officials met in the parking lot. Their discussion, which turned to raised voices at one point, went for two hours and by the end of it, McCall was told there would be a meeting scheduled for Monday, May 18, the earliest possible, to discuss the matter further with the entire council.
On Friday, May 15, an official resignation letter was submitted via email to City Manager Cedric Davis, who then distributed it to council members. McCall distributed a letter to them at their homes as well.
According to officials, McCall’s resignation letter said that he had an opportunity elsewhere that he could not pass up.
After heading home to the Dallas area for the weekend and speaking with his family, McCall submitted a letter of rescinded resignation on Saturday, May 16.
It stated that the amount of support shown to him by the community, along with the discussions with his family, caused him to recant.
“I’ve always had options,” he’d said previously. “But I choose to stay for this community.”
The Facebook rumor mill continued to run rampant over the weekend, with community members putting in their two cents on what might be happening.
All parties involved recall receiving multiple phone calls questioning the situation due to what they had “heard” about what was happening.
A silent protest, perceived by city officials as negative, or “divisions within the community,” was organized to support McCall in his position.
According to organizers, the protest was meant to support McCall and show council members “where the hearts and minds of our citizens are.”
The four hour executive session that evening alluded to conflict between council members on how to move forward.
After the second emergency meeting, called earlier that day, was cancelled due to the action item being tabled during the first meeting, citizens again voiced their opinions on social media, which furthered the discord surrounding the situation.
McCall expressed to KWTX that evening that he had heard that officials had plans to get him out of his position, though city leaders insist otherwise.
“I had no ill will towards the Chief,” Cedric David told reporters. “I really wish Chief McCall much success and happiness in his new endeavors.”
Mayor Lofton has similar views.
“We received a resignation,” she said in an interview. “We don’t know anything about trying to fire him; we didn’t even know he had problems.”
She released a statement from the City of Marlin on Facebook after the May 22 meeting, sparking further discord as citizens were unsatisfied with the decision. Another revised statement was released on May 23.
“Since this meeting, I have spoken with Mr. McCall and we have clarified what went wrong in this scenario,” the revised statement said. “There are no hard feelings between Mr. McCall and City of Marlin leaders.”
“We wish him well and we are praying for much success in his future,” it continued.
McCall also released a statement at that time.
“This past week has brought both togetherness and within our community.” he said. “I believe the focus should be moving Marlin forward.”
Citizens continue to shower him with support and many wish him well in his next endeavor.
At this point, the City of Marlin plans to begin a search for a new police chief. The future of the department may be unknown, but as the Facebook discourse continues, it is also unknown what may unfold next. Without all the derogatory social media commentary, this may have been a very different situation.
An Interim Police Chief will be named in the coming days. Updates on upcoming City Council meetings can be requested by going to marlintx.net and selecting “Notify Me Sign Up” in the left hand column.