Italy City Council terminates police chief

On the agenda for the regular meeting of the Italy City Council Monday night, there were two items listed to be discussed during closed session. The first was “Deliberate legal and personnel matters relating to a grievance filed by Tina Long.” The second was “Deliberate the appointment, employment, evaluation, reassignment, duties, discipline or dismissal of any employees and all matters incident and related thereto” with no specific employee noted.

The councill adjourned into executive session at 6:32 and reconvened into open session at 8:00. They voted to reinstate Tina Long as the Court Clerk and placed her on 90-day probation. Paul Cockerham abstained from the vote. They also voted to terminate Cameron Beckham as the Police Chief and appoint Jason Cherry as the new Chief of Police effective immediately.

As soon as the vote was finished, Mayor Farmer told Beckham to turn in all his equipment and write down all his passwords before leaving the department.

“We have had to make some hard decisions,” said Paul Shearin in council comments at the end of the meeting. “The council is trying to do the best for the city.”

“There are tough changes to make and we try to make the best decisions we can,” added Troy Kowalsky.

“Nobody likes being the bad guy,” said Carl Cash.

In Mayor comments, Steven Farmer stated that they had to make hard decisions and that they were elected to serve the citizens.

The council also voted to:

Approve Ordinance No. 201-0109-01 rezoning a .4742 acre tract from Retail 1 to Commercial 1 providing for a cabinet shop at 180 Poplar Street.

Approved disconnecting the phone at the old fire station that the ESD No. 3 is no longer using. This will save the city over $500 per month.

Approved Ordinance 2017-0109-03 and Resolution 2017-0109-01 between the State of Texas and the City for maintenance of certain state highways in the City of Italy.

In Departmental Reports for December:

Cameron Beckham reported the Police Department had 176 calls for service and 848 security checks. They wrote 128 citations and 2 animal control citations.

Shawn Holden reported Public Works pumped 6,998,300 gallons of water. They had a 20.57 % water loss. Total receivables were $153,646.58.

Amber Cunningham reported that the city received $34,516.64 in sales tax from the state; $17,258.32 in general fund; $8,629.16 to EDC; $4,314.58 each into streets and I&S.

Cunningham also shared the court report of 122 traffic violations; $15,462.63 collected; and 99 dispositions.