It appears my previous suspicions regarding the true intentions behind the recent change to the city’s nepotism policy have been confirmed, by none other than Councilman Sidney Simmons himself.
At the meeting where the change took place, there was zero discussion about the reason for the change. Councilman Simmons made some very odd remarks about going in to the bedrooms of same-sex couples to see if they were violating the policy. Afterwards, the city manager told me the item was added to the agenda due to a recent request from the Mayor.
In a recent article, The News Herald questioned Simmons about the change. He told them that “the change was not made so Larry Whisnant would run for Fleming’s seat,” and that he “voted to change it because the city was narrowing its job applicant pool too much with the previous policy.”
However in a public Facebook post last weekend, Councilman Sidney Simmons admitted that the reason for the change was actually due to the fact that if their friend, Larry Whisnant, won the District 2 race this November, Captain Whisnant of the MPD would be forced to find other employment within six months as stipulated by the previous policy.
While I admit that losing a highly respected, seasoned veteran of our police force would be a travesty -- the appropriate time to address that would be after the election. Only after Larry Whisnant’s successful run for the seat would we know if it was actually an issue that needs to be dealt with.
By conspiring to change a city policy that pertains to all employees so that their friend would run, Councilman Simmons, Fleming, and Mayor Thompson have committed a blatant abuse of their power as elected officials. They did this without request from city administration or substantial research about the impact this sweeping policy change might have on our city.
Councilman Simmons has admitted that he misled us all during the meeting, and to The News Herald, about his intentions regarding the policy. In a striking case of irony, he opened up his post by stating that he was attempting to defend his honesty.