2012-04-12 / Front Page

Council Members Declare They Have No Problems with Chief Bowden’s Absences

Council member Opal Jane Lewis said, “The City Council, as a whole, has never had a problem with Chief Jerry Bowden’s absences or performance.”

Mayor Pro-Tem Tim Brown, the liaison for the Police Department, concurred with Lewis and said, “Indeed the council is happy with the performance of Chief Bowden and we’re sorry about his recent medical complications.”

The Leader reported in last week’s paper that the City Council had concerns about Police Chief Bowden’s absences and that those concerns were addressed at a recent City Council meeting. The wording on the agenda and the minutes were what prompted the article. The agenda stated, “The Council will convene into Executive Session to deliberate the employment, evaluation, reassignment, duties, discipline or dismissal of the Chief of Police.”

After reading the article, Lewis said, “The wording in the minutes and on the agenda in the discussion of Chief Jerry Bowden was inflammatory.”

The City Attorney gave the wording to the city to use on the agenda and said this was the proper wording to use any time you have a discussion about an employee.

The agenda for this week’s City Council meeting, again, addresses this subject, with a slight change in the wording, “ Per City Attorney’s request – City Council will convene into Executive Session pursuant to Texas Local Government Code Section 551.074 to discuss the employment, evaluation, reassignment, duties, discipline or dismissal of the police chief.”

Brown said, “Since we voted to take no action last week, the attorney suggested that we address this again so that we could review the city’s personnel policy to make adjustments as necessary or needed.”

Lewis went on to say, “In 8 months, Chief Bowden has done more for our city than any police chief ever. He’s hired the very best police officers and given them the best training. One of the many things he has done is to write a police manual, which is the best of any police manual I have ever read.“

As far as the chief’s absences, Lewis said, “When we hired him, we knew he had a 62 year old body and that there would be problems with some body parts; therefore, we are not at all surprised that he has been out ill.”

The Leader received a letter from Chief Bowden. He said a few weeks ago he became ill and had Capt. Yarbrough drive him home to Orange, Texas. When he got home, he went to the hospital in Port Arthur, Texas and had emergency gallbladder surgery and is still recovering. For the complete letter, see the Letter to the Editor on page 2 of today’s paper.

Chief Bowden became ill on March 7 and was put in the hospital at that time. He is expected to return to work in Lexington at the end of April or the first part of May, pending no further complications.

Captain Clarence Yarbrough is assuming the responsibilities of the Chief for the department during Chief Bowden’s absence.

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