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Tempers flair at Alexander city council meeting

Alexander city council members learn some of the decisions they voted on at the last meeting were illegal.
ALEXANDER, AR - The Alexander city council gives power to the Chief of Police and then tries to micromanage all in a matter of months.

At a special council meeting Thursday night, Alexander city council members learn some of the decisions they voted on at the last meeting were illegal.

"If the council would give up their salary to pay another police officer I would be willing to do that in order to save my city," said council member Harvey Howard. "But I'm not giving it up unless somebody else is willing to give up at least part of theirs."

Howard's proposal is followed by silence. But that's about all the quiet you'll hear at the special council meeting.

Arguments broke out between citizens once they realized the council called a meeting to discuss business voted into law months ago. Personal conflicts continue to plague city hall as council members try to understand what power they hold as a governing body.

In August, the council voted to give the Chief of Police hiring and firing rights within the department. Then, two weeks ago, the same council members tabled his request to hire a sixth officer to the force - even though its in the budget.

"It was illegal," said city recorder Michelle Kidd. "So what you voted for in August still stands."

Kidd was referring to the August vote giving Police Chief Horace Walters the power to hire and fire officers within the department as long as the budget allows.

The chief wasn't at Thursday night's meeting, but when he returns to work on Monday he will have the power to hire a sixth police officer to the force.
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