Police Exam Change, Rejected
July 23, 2020
The City of Monroe welcomed its' new Chief Executive Tuesday afternoon, as Oliver Ellis was sworn in as mayor following an election that was held up by the coronavirus virus, COVID-19. It was a festive day for the new mayor, as he pledged his love and support for a city that he said that he would stand for ,behind and with after taking his oath. Ellis defeated longtime incumbent mayor Jamie Mayo in a race that perhaps surprised many, but a change in the mayor's office has been made. The Dispatch wishes him well. The new mayor may have found out that sometimes painting a rosy picture also comes with some thorns. Even before Ellis placed his hand on the Bible, he got a taste of what he could expect over the next four years from that of being a businessman to that of a political leader. Ellis, as mayor will have to choose who will be the next police chief of Monroe. An exam was scheduled to be held Thursday(July 23)for the Monroe Chief of Police position, but Ellis then as mayor-elect, had asked for a postponement of the exam. Ellis' position was that a postponement would allow him an opportunity to look at other candidates who might decide to take the exam. One problem. The deadline for applicants to placed their names to take the exam had passed and a date(July 23) had been set. The Municipal Fire and Police Service Board was the only agency that had the authority to made changes, but it refused Ellis' request. The exam will go on as scheduled, as Board members voted 3-2 in favor going on as originally planned.
The individuals that are scheduled to take the exam are interim police chief Reggie Brown, Charles Johnson, Kevin Strickland and Thomas Rhodes. The list to replace former Police Chief Quentin Holmes was long, but some may wonder why there were only four applicants this time. Candidate Rhodes may have supplied the answer that others were already thinking. It may have been that so many thought that if Mayo won the race, that his mind was already made up as to who the next chief would be, looking at only four names. Rhodes was looking for an Ellis win, as he said that he "felt confident" in his chances if Ellis won, perhaps believing that Ellis would not retain Brown, and "clean house" at the top. It appears that someone got Ellis' ears to listen to an appeal that on the surface, really had no chance of success. Who was that person(s), we may know later on. Ellis hasn't made any public comment since the decision, but the community will be interested in what the direction the new mayor will take after the exam is over. Will he choose from the four candidates or will he again listen to those that may want to shape him into the kind of leader to carry out their agenda? Friday Ellis will have to establish himself early in his term as "being his own man", or Mayo's political enemies will be seen as "shadow" leaders in some circles. Some may see Ellis' attempt to change the rules as a "mistake", being new on the job. But everyone who starts out as a candidate always talk about being "the one who can do the job", but listening to the right people is also equally as important after getting the job. Perhaps this was a teachable moment for the new mayor. The Monroe Dispatch wishes him well.
Photo -Monroe LA Police Badge