Suspended police chief fired after hearing
by James Phillips
Mar 26, 2013 | 5467 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
After an almost 7-hour hearing held in executive session, the Carbon Hill City Council voted last week to terminate suspended police chief Kenneth Bobo.

The council voted 5-1 late Thursday night to fire Bobo with Chris Pschirer the lone council member against the action.

Carbon Hill Mayor James “Pee Wee” Richardson said the hearing was held in executive session due to the discussion of an employee’s good name and character.

“The council wanted the executive session because they knew it could be a lot of mess. That was the best thing for him and us,” Richardson said.

Nicholas Sparks, a Jasper attorney who represented Bobo during the hearing, objected to the executive session, but the council denied his request to have the public present for the proceeding.

“The first day of Mr Bobo's hearing was two weeks ago,” Sparks said. “It was open to the public, lasted only an hour, and began with prayer. Thursday's hearing was not open to the public, lasted six hours, and did not begin with prayer, which was somehow fitting.

“The result of the hearing was a complete failure of justice,” Sparks added. “Not only was every allegation against Mr. Bobo rebutted by coherent and credible evidence, there was also overwhelming evidence the mayor himself committed an act for which the mayor proposed Mr. Bobo's termination.”

Sparks said Bobo should never have been fired and said the mayor and council are out of line.

“At the most, Mr. Bobo is the latest victim of a council (with the exception of Chris Pschirer) that does anything Mayor Richardson tells them to do,” he said. “This council fired (former police chief) Heath Allred on the very day Mayor Richardson was sworn in, after Richardson defeated Allred's wife in the mayoral election. They terminated a female dispatcher in executive session without a hearing after she had been granted a hearing date by the city. The same female dispatcher had filed an internal report some years ago with serious allegations against the mayor during a time when he did not hold public office. I can only assume why this mayor would not want a hearing on the dispatcher's case.”

Richardson said Sparks is entitled to his opinion.

“He is doing what he gets paid to do,” Richardson said. “I get paid and was elected to do what is best for all of Carbon Hill, and that’s what I did in this situation and what I will do in any situation. The council is in a similar situation and has the final say in what’s in the best interest of our city.”

Richardson said he expects the council will approve Ron Colburn as police chief and Matt Dozier as assistant police chief at its next meeting, which will be Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Carbon Hill Community Center.