MULBERRY — At Sunday’s Mulberry city council meeting, one officer resigned and a new one was hired.
Mulberry Officer T.J. Barlow, who worked part time for the city, tendered his resignation. His resignation was accepted.
Mulberry Council Member Harlene Bailey said Barlow resigned because he and council were going in different directions.
“We just couldn’t come to terms with each other,” Bailey said. “He is a great guy — super nice, a great cop, great officer — just you know, different directions.”
According to Bailey, the council will be hiring part time officers who will be on shifts, one of which was hired Sunday — Toni Duncan.
“She is a great officer,” Bailey said. “She’s very knowledgeable, her dad used to be an officer here and she is in town, which is a major plus for the citizens for Mulberry because we can call, and boom, she’s here.
“Even if it is just to show her presence until backup gets here, we have police in town and that is what our ultimate goal was — to get someone from here.”
Bailey said the council is evaluating what funds it has left and its options for hiring new officers.
“The fiscal year starts December 31 — we don’t want to just go straight head in,” Bailey said.
“We have to figure out what we have left, what our options are and get people in and resumes filled.”
Bailey said Sunday’s meeting went well and everyone was on the same page.
“I was very impressed with the first meeting we had yesterday,” Bailey said. “We were all on the same page, different backgrounds but all on the same page — we all want the same thing. “When we walk through the doors it’s not to make friends — not to be buddies — it is to work for the city of Mulberry and its citizens — that is the only objective we have.”
Bailey said the mayor and some of the council members who resigned at the last meeting are still around to help — she said it is a testament for Mulberry that they can still come together to work for the city.
“We have the ex-council members and mayor, who were at the meeting yesterday to fall back on their experience and knowledge — to ask questions, to help me, Preston and TJ,” Bailey said. “They are right there willing and they’ve been doing it.”
Before the resignations at Tuesday’s council meeting, there were comments on the city’s social media alluding to concerns about hiring and embezzlement.
Bailey said she did not see any issue with the hirings within the city hall and police department, and as far as to the alleged embezzlement of city funds, every penny is in place.
“It never happened. I’ve looked at the books, Preston has looked at the books — it never happened. Every penny is accounted for,” Bailey said. “Everything that was done and bought, everywhere it went — we all received a copy of the budget breakdown.”
— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP and Instagram @stephanie_morningsun.