Kellyville Trustee John Taylor has resigned Friday morning following a tension-filled board meeting on Thursday night, where he and other board members were made the object of scorn by a vocal public.
The emergency meeting on Thursday, October 10th, at 8 p.m. was for the purpose of setting the rate of pay for Police Chief Robert Hutchins, as it was an agenda item that had been missed in the regular meeting on Tuesday. Earlier on Thursday, Robert Hutchins submitted his resignation after an outpouring of angry protests on social media against Hutchins being hired instead of interim Chief Byron Davis. Reserve Officer Les Vaughn also resigned.
Mayor Terry Voss had previously stormed out the regular meeting on Tuesday, resigning his position as Mayor, but returned to his post for the special meeting on Thursday. Town Hall has confirmed that he has rescinded his resignation.
Prior to the agenda item for Hutchin’s pay, Mayor Voss read item 4B, which was public comments on any subject not scheduled on the regular agenda. Voss announced there was a 3-minute time limit, however, Trustee John Taylor told the audience “I would like to give you guys what time you need to be heard, not just three minutes.”
One resident, who was quite vocal, was Jason Horath, who ardently and passionately expressed his concerns for the safety of the citizens of Kellyville, as well as questioning the decision to fire the Town Attorney.
Mr. Horath asked, “I wanted to know how you guys felt about the citizens not being safe by having no police department? How do you guys feel about your decisions?” Trustee Ed Pruitt said, “I feel good about my vote.” Pruitt then said “As far as public safety goes we still have one officer on staff,” to which Horth exclaimed “No!” Horath asked, “How are you guys making legal decisions without an attorney?” Pruit replied, “We still have him on staff.” (It should be noted that the Trustees passed a motion at the October 8th regular meeting to terminate the services of John Dunn, the Town Attorney and that Dunn was not present at the meeting).
Horath told the board that they need an attorney to help them with legal issues just as the citizens of Kellyville neede police officers to keep them safe. Trustee John Taylor responded, “ You’re telling me we have no police officers?” Horath replied, “Do you see any? I don’t see one in attendance, Do You?”
Horath then questioned the board’s decision to hire someone as Police Chief who he stated had a questionable background. Trustee Pruitt reiterated that he stood by his vote, “I voted nay.”
Horath queried the board. “You guys have plenty to say about spending our money but you don’t have nothing to say tonight about that?” Trustee Russ Howard stated, “We didn’t choose to not have a police force.” Horath responded, “You did by not doing what the public asked you to do!” Howard retorted, “That’s your opinion.”
Following the heated exchange between Howard and Horath, a gentleman in the audience jumped up and angrily spoke about a young relative that had been the victim of an altercation at the high school and that there were no police officers to respond to the situation. “We need protection guys, you are our leaders.”
Mayor Voss said “The man we had at the time is what the people wanted and I voted for him…Some of us has got to help this town and some of us, I think, want to take charge of this town, and I am not one of them. I am here for you guys.”
Trustee Pruitt said, “Each one of us here got into this for the same reason, to try to help the town. Do we make the right decision all the time? No.” Pruitt said he tried to make the right decisions and apologized for making any wrong decisions, and emphatically declared, “The bickering needs to stop…We need to pull together as a town and work together.”
Horath lambasted the board, “We’re telling each and everyone one of you what we want, but you’re sitting back there smirking, you’re laughing at our ideas…..It’s just going to keep going on until Taylor, McGarrah, and Howard are out of here because that is what we all want.” At that point, someone in the audience shouted, “I second that!”
The board closed public comments and concluded the remaining business on the agenda, which was to set the rate of pay for Robert Hutchins. Since he had worked a day and a half he was to be paid. A motion was made and passed to pay him $18 per hour, after which the meeting was adjourned.
Micah Choquette contributed to this story.