Barely a month after Glen Rose Police Chief Weldon Mitchell was placed on investigatory probation, the Glen Rose City Council relieved him of duties and transferred him to the water and sewer department.
City council members held a special meeting June 2 at 5:30 p.m. to evaluate Mitchell. After deliberating behind closed doors for an hour and a half, the council reconvened in open session and voted three to two to transfer Mitchell to the new department at a pay-rate of $16.50 an hour. He will also keep all benefits, including vacation, sick leave and any accrued time.
Councilmen Bob Stricklin, Dr. Rocky Terry and Ricky Villa voted in favor of the transfer with Chris Bryant and Council woman Barbara Mitchell voting against.
Bryant originally called for the first executive session in May regarding Mitchell’s performance after receiving a number of verbal complaints from citizens.
Although Mitchell did accept the council’s final decision, he did not submit a letter of resignation.
In a follow-up interview with the Reporter, Villa said he had a difficult time reaching a decision on the vote because of a lack of hard evidence. Ultimately, he voted in favor of the transfer because Mitchell had at some point made a request to be moved.
“I voted what he was requesting,” Villa said.
Terry declined to comment on his vote but did say he felt Mitchell had served the city well.
“Weldon’s done a decent job,” Terry said. “We’ve had very few complaints until recently.”
He added that the complaints were minor, but did need to be addressed.
Bryant confirmed that Mitchell made a verbal request to be moved back to the maintanence department after the council received new information about an allegation against Mitchell. But he couldn’t vote in favor of the transfer because there was no job position open in that area.
Councilwoman Barbara Mitchell agreed with Bryant but couldn’t comment further on details about the situation due to Texas public information laws associated with executive session.
“I didn’t really agree with the other council members and voted no,” Mitchell said.
Stricklin was also contacted but declined to comment further on the meeting.
For now, the city is left to decide how to proceed from here. Mitchell was not only the chief, but the entire municipal police force.
Bryant said normal protocal for hiring a chief would be like any other city employee: an ad would be posted and a candidate selected, but he wasn’t sure if that was the city’s plan.
At Monday night’s city council meeting, the council agreed to pursue an interlocal agreement with the Somervell County Sheriff’s office to provide law enforcement within city limits. The sheriff’s deputies and officers already serve many functions with the city and often aided Mitchell in calls and investigations.
Sheriff Greg Doyle said the department patrolled the county and the city before Glen Rose had a chief and continued to help after the chief was installed.
“We still responded to calls in the city and patrolled the city as well,” Doyle said. “We will continue to work the city and provide services.”