Achille police chief demoted, then named interim chief

By Zach Maxwell Staff Reporter

September 24, 2013

ACHILLE - The town board of trustees here demoted its police chief at a special called meeting on Monday, then named her interim chief for a week until a replacement can be found.

Chasity Barkley was present at the meeting, along with two Achille officers and two members of Bryan County Sheriff’s Office.

The decision was announced after a one-hour closed session held by the trustees to discuss employee issues surrounding three current officers, two former officers who recently resigned, and two other city employees.

“She will no longer be the police chief,” Mayor Randy Howard announced after the closed session. “She will have to show proof of CLEET training… by the end of the week, or she can’t be a patrol officer (either). We will be taking applications for a new police chief.”

Barkley then informed the trustees that the officers would be unable to work without leadership.

“We can’t work because we (must) have a police chief,” she said. Her name was mentioned by a fellow officer to remain interim chief, but she said, “Obviously (the council) doesn’t want to and I really don’t care to (be chief).”

The trustees then voted unanimously on a variety of personnel issues, including Barkley’s demotion and immediate re-reinstatement as interim chief until at least Oct. 2.

Former officers Allen Golden and Keith Dietz have resigned. No action was taken regarding officers Chad Abbott and Bobby Steadman.

The trustees also reprimanded Court Clerk Lori Meade and City Secretary Ramona Zamora for “not showing up for work.”

“Next time you won’t be reprimanded, because you won’t be employed with the city of Achille,” Howard said. “We’ve all got to work together here. It’s not that big of an office and you should be getting along and not undermining other departments.”

Achille Trustee David Northcutt defended the employees before the closed session, after the trustees took questions from more than 20 citizens gathered in the city hall meeting room. Some had asked how and why city offices were closed recently with both employees not in the office.

“At the time we had a city employee who was being threatened and told not to show up,” Northcutt said. “We met with the mayor and the situation was resolved. We apologize for the office being closed.”