The issue of “lateral hiring” became a hot-button issue within the Columbus Police Department a few weeks ago. With the Civil Service Commission approval of the measure, lateral hiring now becomes a reality.
So let’s look back on how this process came to be.
Columbus Mayor Robert Smith reportedly wanted to hire an outsider for the department. In order to do so, the outsider wanted to maintain his rank, which would require the lateral hiring measure to be passed. Smith apparently instructed his man, CPD Chief Selvain McQueen, to get on the trail of making lateral hiring a reality. So, Chief McQueen, who has never taken the “written test” required to be promoted within the Columbus Police Department (that I know. If he has, I’d have to be shown when, where and what score he made. RW), sets out to make his boss happy, along with many other players in this story.
The fact that so many people (including many of the current officers of the CPD and members of their families) supported McQueen in his bid to become Columbus Police Chief in the farce of a selection process we witnessed last year, based on the fact that he was a come-up-through-the-ranks, in-house officer and not an outsider, and for him to let down all of these people, is a tragedy in itself. McQueen announced last week that he “was not promoting anyone.”
His decision not to promote followed a suspicious Civil Service Commission meeting where the commissioners approved the lateral hiring issue.
So now, that brings us to the title of this piece, “Robert’s Rules of Order.” The particular Robert’s Rules’ I speak of here are the rules that all city employee’s fall under, and that is Mayor Robert Smith’s rules. Those rules are, apparently, that he is the mayor and, in the end, what he says…goes. Period. What Mayor Smith wants, Mayor Smith nearly always gets.
The only municipality that I know that uses lateral hiring is Southaven, as mentioned by CPD Officer Kemp in last week’s Civil Service Commission meeting. He added that they lose a ton of cops by using it, also.
In the end, this entire process, from the selection of McQueen as chief, to the approval of lateral hiring and then the decision to not promote, has taken on an appearance of being orchestrated. And every orchestra has to have a conductor.
In the meantime, the patrol officers (the ones with reported low-morale. RW) are out there arresting criminals, protecting citizens, laying their lives on the line…everyday. Recently, report after report has come in that the CPD patrol officers are doing a fantastic job and are to be highly commended. All the while, their superiors (in this case Chief McQueen, Mayor Smith and part of the city council. RW) are not giving them any incentive to do so.
How much longer can these brave men and women be expected to perform their duties at a top-notch level and not be rewarded accordingly? Not that they are doing their jobs to impress or for brownie points, but because they love to protect our citizens and are dedicated individuals. It’s high time that their superiors give them incentive to continue by doing the right thing. Not promoting them is not the right thing.
Columbus, Ms. Facebook Watch Group Extends Invitation to City Leaders
Lynn Sanders Nordquist, one of the creators of the Facebook watch group, asked me to relay an invitation to city leaders (especially including the one’s I just raked over the coals, but I know they can take it because they are men with tough skin. RW), to a Columbus, Ms Facebook Watch Meet & Greet to be held at The Columbus Fairgrounds (indoors) Tuesday, Feb.21 from 6-8 pm. I told Lynn that the meet and greet coincides with an already-scheduled Columbus City Council meeting at 5 pm that same evening. You never can tell how long those meetings are, but if it lets out before 8 pm, many of our city leaders should really try and make the meet and greet.
The Facebook watch group now has over 4,420 members and is growing daily. They are a force to be reckoned with in the community and will likely grow even stronger. The group has been taking anonymous donations and will soon feed CPD, LCSO, 911 personnel, emergency and first responders within the city and county. Nordquist said that member Chris West came up with the idea of the meet and greet. The meeting will be held indoors and visitors are asked not to bring in any food or drink.
Nordquist also said the invitation was extended for county leaders as well, and she has heard from many of them and they will be attending. I would remind that city elections are not that far off, though it should never be the sole reason elected officials attend a meeting such as this. But you can bet that many voters will be taking notes of who attends and who doesn’t.
The Patriot Guard of Riders To Tupelo Saturday
The Patriot Guard of Riders will be participating in SFC Bill Sutton’s funeral services on Saturday, Feb. 18, in Tupelo. Many of you rode, in October, to see SFC Sutton and the 288th Sapper group off in Houston. Now, we need to help the family bring SFC Sutton home. If you would like to ride with a group from Columbus, please meet at the K Mart (Hwy. 45) parking lot Saturday morning, leaving at KSU (kick stands up) 8:30am. You do not have to be a Patriot Guard Rider to participate. The group will arrive in Tupelo by 9:45 am, and fall-in with the flag line for visitation and funeral and then the escort ride. For more information visit the Mississippi Patriot Guard Rider webpage http://www.pgrofms.org/ or call Susan 662 549 1255.0