By Jackie Vaughn, News Editor
Falmouth Mayor Elonda Hinson responded to questions concerning the removal of Benny Johnson as police chief by releasing the information contained in his termination letter. The document was issued to Johnson on April 27 and cited the reasons for her decision.
Mayor Hinson states in the letter that she was removing him as chief of police because of his “lack of leadership, ineffective leadership and an inability to effectively work with the Office of the Mayor which constitute inefficiency and ineffectiveness under the general employment policies of the City.” Johnson’s performance and/or actions were determined to be detrimental to the city.
By Jackie Vaughn, News Editor
The Outlook has been informed that Falmouth Mayor Elonda Hinson officially removed Benny Johnson from his position as chief of the Falmouth Police Department. Reportedly, Johnson was notified at 2 p.m. this afternoon as he was finishing an extra shift that needed to be covered.
The reason for the termination is unknown at this time. The Outlook has not had an opportunity to speak with Mayor Hinson as of yet. In most cases such as this, Hinson will prepare a public statement or press release. We will bring you that information as soon as it is received.
When asked to comment, Johnson declined to officially discuss the details of his removal as police chief.
“I really can’t go into it right now. As much as I would like to make a comment, I just can’t at this time,” said Johnson, who has maintained a working relationship with the media during his employment. “I’ve been advised to keep quiet about the matter.”
Johnson has already contacted his attorney which means a lawsuit is not far behind. Attorney Phil Taliaferro of Taliaferro, Carren & Keys in Covington, will be representing Johnson. According to the former chief, all future questions should be directed to Taliaferro and any statements will be made through his office.
“When I can talk about the situation I’ll be more than happy to discuss the details with you,” said Johnson. “A lot of people are already aware of what’s going on. I’ve got a lot I’d like to say and I will when the time is right. I’m not the only one either. There’s several people who have stories to tell.”
Johnson went on to say that he has received calls of encouragement from business leaders, city officials, and other members of the community, who he said were upset and disapproved of his termination. He also expressed concern over the future of the Falmouth Police Department mentioning the number of former employees and current dwindling numbers.
In the last two years there have been two police chiefs, two police receptionists, and over an estimated ten plus officers employed by the city. Johnson said he hadn’t received any resumes or calls for the available positions that are currently being advertised.
Most of the public is aware of the reasons for the many changes by Mayor Hinson. Her termination of former chief Mark Posey was headline news in this area and unarguably justified on her part as well as for the better of the city.
Currently serving on the police department are Kenny Brockman (who just this past week returned to duty after rescinding his resignation), Greg Spaulding (who also just rescinded his resignation but is said to have other job offers), Jason Compton, Shaun Seger (who is in his final week of service), and Josh Johnson (extended medical leave). Chrissy Bezold, office receptionist, is also in the final week of her employment as well. That leaves a depleted force and a whole lot of questions for the future of the Falmouth Police Department.
Councilwoman April DeFalco said that she had heard about Johnson’s termination but nobody from the city had contacted her in an official capacity. “I got my information by word of mouth from members of the community,” said DeFalco. “It really surprises me that council wasn’t put on notice. What am I supposed to tell people when they are calling and asking me questions? I would think there would be more concern for public safety and that we should at least be made aware of what’s going on. The protection of our community should be a main priority with the elected officials being involved.”
The Outlook will keep you informed as more details are made available.
lding its first annual “Senior Bash.” This fun event is designed to show appreciation for senior citizens by providing a day of entertainment, fun, information, food and prizes. It is being hosted by the Pendleton County Fiscal Court. The event will be held from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Tuesday, May 3 at the fairgrounds in Falmouth. Senior Bash is geared toward residents who are 55 or older and live in Pendleton County. During the event, businesses, groups, churches and organizations set up a booth and give away a variety of items to those in attendance. Adjoining counties put on annual events very similar to this and they’ve proven to be a huge success. So, if you are 55 or older this is an open invitation to attend Pendleton County’s first senior appreciation day…“Senior Bash 2016.” The event will have a 50s theme…50s style music, decorations and fun….you can even dress the part if you’d like. Lunch will be provided and seniors will get information and free items from a variety of organizations. There will also be door prizes given away. You get all this for only $2! Tickets can be purchased on the second floor of the Pendleton County Courthouse. Seating will be limited so get your tickets early and come on out for a great time!
By Sam McClanahan, Reporter The Pendleton County Ladycats continued their winning ways by pulling out a thrilling 4-3 victory over Bracken County on April 23 to earn the club’s fourth win in its past five games. The Cats got solid contributions up and down the lineup while starting pitcher Samantha Verst hurling a complete-game; scattering four hits while striking out five over nine innings and not allowing an earned run. Verst continues a strong stretch on the mound after she threw two straight nohitters in the Ladycats victories over Robertson County on April 16 and Covington Latin on April 18. Sophomore Anna Askren delivered the Cats game-winning RBI to knock off Bracken County, scoring junior Kendall Carr. “Anna is really stepping up and becoming a player that we can count on everyday,” said Head Coach Mary Pettit. “We hit the ball well and our girls played hard and were able to pull out a tough win.” Maddie Wyatt, Olivia Verst and Sydney Manor each collected two hits for the Cats, while Samantha Verst doubled and Carr singled in a run. The club now stands at 6-10 overall with less than a month of the season remaining. Pendleton County will host Augusta on April 25. Game time is 5:30 p.m., followed by a road matchup on April 26 at Holy Cross.
Edwardo’s Pizza & Subs will host “An Evening of Comedy” on Friday, April 29. Tony Kordenbrock and Rob Wilfong, along with host Matt Linville, will be at the restaurant at 9 p.m. to provide some comic relief! “Officially Ridiculous” begins at 9 p.m. Tickets are $8. If you have any questions or for more information, please call Edwardo’s Pizza & Subs at 859-654- 4100.