- Special Sections
- Public Notices
TOPIC: Chief out, chief in
OUR VIEW: Mayor owes residents an explanation
The recent exit of Steve Manning as police chief in Vine Grove has left unanswered questions.
Tops among them: Why was he removed from office?
Mayor Blake Proffitt has taken a public stance on Manning’s firing, saying, “We don’t comment on any employment-related issue.’’
That is a fine line to walk as the city’s top leader. Since police chief in Vine Grove isn’t an elected position, the mayor has hiring and firing authority.
But for the 685 voters who checked Proffitt’s name when they went to the polls in 2010 to elect a new mayor for this town, they deserve as explanation as to why Manning was let go.
It is the duty of the mayor, whether it be Vine Grove, Elizabethtown or Radcliff, to reassure residents decisions are properly made and there is a high level of transparency about the city’s business.
Proffitt’s words are no more than a convenient shield to avoid explaining the reasoning behind the dismissal.
Meanwhile, there are those who ponder why the police chief — the second-highest profile position — in this town is out?
Did Manning not show up for work? Did he take too many long lunch breaks? Is there money missing from his department? Is it simply a personality conflict? Is the city acting to avoid a retirement obligation?
Decisions like these fuel rumors about the whys behind the action.
Proffitt moved swiftly in promoting captain Dale Riggs back to police chief. Riggs was chief from 2000 through 2007 when he was demoted from his post by then-Mayor Donovan Smith.
Riggs was removed by Smith because the mayor disagreed with many of the decisions, policies and actions made by Riggs during his time as chief, according to a news story in 2000.
Proffitt said moving Riggs back into the role of chief was “an obvious choice.’’ He is a 29-year veteran of police work.
Proffitt said of the department changes, “Contrary to what some people think, I did not have a preconceived notion about this.’’
The mayor has been on the job for 16 months and has faced many challenges and to this point, he should be considered an effective city leader after several terms on city council.
Transparency in government is critical. In his instance, Proffitt could have and should have done much more than he did.
This editorial is a consensus of The News-Enterprise's editorial board.