Newly elected Latta, South Carolina, Mayor Earl Bullard sacked his town’s openly lesbian police chief on Tuesday after she investigated a new Parks and Recreation director he had appointed.
Bullard had not sought a background check for Vontray Sellers, the man he hired for the job in February, and Police Chief Crystal Moore looked into his background and found that he was driving without a license, and had convictions for lying to police and assaulting a correctional facility employee among other charges.
Bullard sacked Moore without a verbal warning, issuing her seven official reprimands in one day.
In the reprimands Bullard accused More of running background checks without properly signed authorization, failure to report to a supervisor about problems in other departments, using her position to seek revenge against another for personal affront, questioning the authority of a supervisor, questioning the authority of the mayor to look at job applications for potential employees, failing to maintain order and contributing to disorder at council meetings, and for contacting the media.
However in a conversation that was recorded by Town Councilman Jared Taylor, Bullard hinted at another reason.
‘I would much rather have, and I will say this to anybody's face, somebody who drank and drank too much taking care of my child than I had somebody whose lifestyle is questionable around children,’ Bullard said in the tape recording obtained by WBTW News 13.
‘Because that ain't the damn way it's supposed to be. You know, you got people out there - I'm telling you buddy - I don't agree with some of the lifestyles that I see portrayed and I don't say anything because that is the way they want to live, but I am not going to let my child be around.
‘I'm not going to let two women stand up there and hold hands and let my child be aware of it. And I'm not going to see them do it with two men neither. I'm not going to do it. Because that ain't the way the world works.
‘Now, all these people showering down and saying “Oh it's a different lifestyle they can have it.” Ok, fine and dandy, but I don't have to look at it and I don't want my child around it.’
One of the criticisms of Seller’s appointment was that it was a position that involved contact with children at times.
Councilwoman Lutherine Williams said that Bullard had told her he intended to sack Moore, a 23 year veteran with the town’s police force and its first female chief of police, before he had even been sworn into office.
‘Before he was sworn in office he said … Crystal would not have a job,’ Williams said.
‘We have codes, but this Mayor refuses to obey anything in that book he don't want to.’
Latta Town Council has voted for a referendum to weaken the mayor’s position by changing the way the town is run since the sacking incident.