Booneville Mayor vetos public hearing that would discuss chief selection

BOONEVILLE – Aldermen may vote early next month to override a veto by Mayor Joe Eaton that blocks a hearing on how the police chief is chosen.
Eaton’s June 18 veto denies a hearing on the question of whether the Booneville police chief should be appointed, as it is now, or elected.
Aldermen voted 3-2 at the regular city board meeting on June 15 in favor of holding the public hearing.
A vote of 4-1 would be required to override the veto, and the board will have that option at its next regular meeting on July 6.
“When I ran for alderman the first time 17 years ago, I established my position in favor of an appointed police chief,” the mayor said. “I got an overwhelming majority of the votes, so people supported that.”
The motion for the hearing was made by Ward 3 Alderman Mark McCoy, who said he was acting on the desires of his constituents.
He was supported by Harold Eaton, alderman-at-large, and Ward 2 Alderman Jeff Williams. Ward 1 Alderwoman Wilda Pounds and Ward 4 Alderman David Bolen voted against it.
Williams said he opposed changing from an appointed to an elected chief, according to the Daily Corinthian, but said residents should be able to voice their opinions at a hearing.
Eaton said having the police chief as a department head in a municipality makes the position more accountable.

Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal