POWERS — A coverage action plan for its vacant police department was tabled at a special Powers City Council meeting Tuesday after councilors discussed needing more time to review their options.
Last week, the council voted 4-2 to fire its former Police Chief Robert Baker for unspecified reasons relating to his work performance. Baker was the only officer in the one-person Powers Police Department. Baker, whose last day was Dec. 4, publicly addressed a number of allegations against him at a Loudermill hearing last month.
The decision to terminate Baker’s employment was immediately received with criticism from a number of community members concerned about their public safety.
On Tuesday, the council discussed ways it could move forward with filling its police vacancy as well as ways it could employ temporary, emergency police chief services. Some community members in attendance also participated in the discussion, questioning the council’s recruitment plans.
As part of its motion to table its action plan, the council also agreed to hold a work session meeting Wednesday, Dec. 18, at 5:30 p.m. to discuss and review the police chief job description at length as well as to further examine its coverage plan.
Newly appointed Councilor Donna Freeman said the police vacancy and job listing will not be posted until the council works out a description that meets the needs of the community. She also raised the question at Tuesday’s meeting of reinstating Baker as another possible option.
“I would love to have (Baker) back,” said Freeman. “I don’t know what is possible with the current situation and all that has gone on. I have no idea because I’m truly not totally informed. I am new and not privy to information that transpired before I came on board.”
According to Freeman, a lot of the community members who attended the special council meeting were in support of Baker. A peaceful protest, which was organized by Powers resident Stormy Hall, is scheduled to take place Saturday, Dec. 14, at 1 p.m. in front of Powers City Hall.