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February 13, 2014

Voters to decide if Live Oak police chief will be elected or appointed

Live Oak —

The Live Oak City Council voted 3-2 Tuesday night to place the Live Oak Chief of Police position on the ballot in May and let city voters decide if they want the position elected or appointed. Councilors Keith Mixon and Jacob Grantham voted against. 

For the item to be placed on the May ballot, an ordinance will have to be drafted by the city attorney and a special called meeting could be held on Feb. 25, to hold the first reading of the ordinance. The second and final reading could be held during the council’s regular monthly meeting on March 11. The items for the ballot must be sent to the Supervisor of Election’s Office no later than March 14. 

At a previous city council meeting, two recommendations were presented to the council from the Live Oak Charter Review Committee, one which supported placing the position on the ballot, and one that opted for it to remain appointed. The council agreed to take each recommendation under review. However, Tuesday night councilor John Yulee said he would like the position to be placed on the ballot for the people to decide. 

“Mr. Yulee, what are the specific benefits of an elected police chief,” Grantham asked.

“I’ve been pondering this for about a month now, since we last talked about it. And the way I look at it, it’s favoritism,” Yulee said. “I got the definition of favoritism, and it says favoritism is unfair treatment to some people or showing special favor to someone. We are not in the business to show favoritism to anyone.”

Grantham then asked Yulee how favoritism has been shown within the police chief position.

“Once you get an appointed position, it’s favoritism,” Yulee responded. “An appointed position is considered favoritism ... It should be open for anyone to run for chief of police.”

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