Voters in Latta, South Carolina knocked their mayor down a peg on Tuesday when they voted to strip him of some powers in retaliation for his decision to fire a gay police chief.
The Columbia Free-Times reported that roughly half of Latta’s residents voted in favor of a referendum to replace the town’s strong-mayor form of government with a more powerful Town Council. That means the Town Council, not the mayor, would be responsible for hiring and firing employees.
Former Police Chief Crystal Moore said in April that Mayor Earl Bullard had fired her because she was gay, a charge Bullard denied. A local TV station later published an audio recording of Ballard making homophobic remarks and the Town Council rallied behind Moore to put the referendum to the ballot.
Members of the Town Council said Bullard went ahead and hired a new police chief Wednesday morning without sharing any information about the hire with them, according to the Florence Morning News. But Bullard’s pick for the job was probably irrelevant, as council members were likely to use their new powers to reinstate Moore.
Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.