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Rumor of firings packs meeting
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Rumors and speculation in and around Pembroke brought out over 80 community members to Monday’s city council meeting.

One of those who attended, Gloria Schneider, said she heard the defeated city council members were going to hold an executive session on Monday and discuss the firing of Pembroke’s Chief of Police Bill Collins, Fire Chief Jimmy Cook and Clerk of Works Ricky McCoy. All three positions are appointed by the council.

"We live in small, tight-knit community. When people heard this, they were really angry," Schneider said. "As you can see by the turnout tonight, the people of Pembroke have spoken. We voted to remove them, and they should just move on. Let’s quit being childish."

During the meeting, the floor was open for public comment. Schneider and fellow resident Paul Gibson addressed the rumors and made known their concerns.

"These employees are critical to our community’s safety; their positions cannot be taken lightly. The specialized training and knowledge they have would leave with them. That would place our community in a bad situation. To the best of my knowledge none of these employees have any derogatory or disciplinary action in their personnel files," Gibson said. "I can only come to one conclusion that ladies and gentlemen this is retaliation for the defeat they received in the recent election. You are still sworn public and not personal servants. Please keep the best interest of the public as your priority."

Towards the end of the meeting Councilman Randall Butler did have several questions for City Clerk Betty Hill regarding the Clerk of Works contract. Councilman Ernest Hamilton made the motion to go into executive session. Councilman Elijah Lewis seconded the motion. In a vote of 3-2 it carried, the two votes opposing executive session were from Councilmen Johnny Miller and Joey Burnsed.

When the council returned from the closed-door session, members said they decided to take no action on what they were discussing. They would not comment on the topics discussed.

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