Sanders named Interim Chief of Police
By LPR Staff
Former Lockhart Mayor Ray Sanders has been appointed Interim Chief of Police, city manager Clovia English announced on Tuesday.
Sanders is a 26-year veteran of the Austin Police Department (APD). He retired from APD in 1995 after spending 10 years as Assistant Chief of Police. He also served on the Lockhart City Council
for three years, before being elected for two terms as Mayor. He has held positions on various boards and committees, and remains a member of the Austin Police Association and the Texas Police Association Executive Board.
“He is a very professional and qualified individual to hold this position,” English said in a written statement released on Wednesday morning.
In addition to his service to APD, Sanders also served for 25 years in the U.S. Air Force, having retired from service in 1985. While in the military, he was a Special Investigator with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations for 10 years. He holds a bachelors degree in Behavioral Science from St. Edwards University, where he minored in Criminal Justice.
“I know that many of you already know that you can expect nothing but the utmost professionalism, quality police department operations knowledge, high ethical and moral standards, deserving compassion and fair play from Ray,” English”s statement read.
According to English, the search for a permanent chief of police has already begun. She said a Recruitment Bulletin is being developed and she has already received excellent recommendations on well-qualified candidates for the position.
“We anticipate the process of advertising, scheduling, interviewing and selecting a new Police Chief to take no longer than two to three months,” she said. In her statement, she also said that while she is disappointed that current Chief of Police Frank Coggins has chosen to resign, she hopes the decision works out well for him, and she wished him well in his future endeavors.
In related news, English announced during the city council meeting on Tuesday that plans to reorganize the police department after the reduction in force and several upper-level retirements are complete.
She stated that the police department will be organized under the chief of police, with one captain and two supervisors. A third supervisor position will be eliminated and reverted to an officer position.
Because the former captain, Dewayne Dalrymple, took retirement in October, English said that the new captain would be promoted from inside the department.
In other business:
The council recognized two local businesses, Gladder”s Gourmet Cookies and Bluebonnet Electric, for their ongoing support of reserve firefighters. According to Fire Chief Jerry Doyle, both companies routinely allow employees time off work to respond to emergency calls with the Lockhart Fire Department.
The council considered a proposal to allow Motorola to take the lead in reprogramming the city”s radio frequencies in connection with a “system swap” with Nextel.
The realignment, ordered by the Federal Communication Commission (FCC), is the result of an ongoing problem of Nextel”s service signals interfering with emergency service radios. Because of the interference, the FCC ordered Nextel to pay $2.5 billion to realign services nationwide, changing frequencies to alleviate the interference problems.
“Basically, this is something that the FCC mandated, not something that we”ve volunteered to do,” said firefighter Aaron Slaughter, the primary radio communications officer for both Caldwell County and the City of Lockhart.
Caldwell County frequencies will also be affected by the change.
Representatives from Motorola, on hand to explain the technical details of the conversion, assured the council that the changeover will not cost the city, or the taxpayers anything. He insisted that all expenses would be covered by Nextel, as part of the FCC mandate.
The council agreed to contract Motorola to help with the realignment, but expressed concern that certain financial aspects could eventually cost the city.
“I think it requires us to be aware that the idea of the relationship between Motorola and Nextel is something that we have no control over,” said Councilmember at Large Dick Weiland. “I”m concerned that we”ve been told repeatedly that it won”t cost us a penny and it will wind up costing us dollars.”
Mayor James “Jimmy” Bertram echoed the concern.
“There”s no reason for the citizens to incur the cost because there”s nothing that we did to cause it,” he said.
As a caveat to approval, the council insisted that all bookkeeping be documented through the city staff, and that the city manager watch the transaction carefully.
Some citizens continue to express disappointment with the city”s current leadership and publicly stated their intention to reintroduce a petition to recall Bertram unless he resigns his position voluntarily.
“When the recall petition goes through, you will not be eligible to run for mayor,” Bill Long advised Bertram. “But if you resign, and we”re wrong, and the citizens of this city still support you, they will reelect you.”
Long, who helped to circulate and collect signatures for the original petition last fall, said the group will circulate the petition again and warned the mayor that they will go door to door to collect the 633 signatures that were initially rejected by the city.
Dave Moore, one of Bertram”s supporters, however, suggested that certain parts of the petition were not only submitted in error, but were perhaps falsified. Moore said that he had reviewed the petition thoroughly, and suggested city leaders submit the petition to the Caldwell County District Attorney”s Office for investigation.
Alfred Cano, who claimed to be a political activist and not a “political antagonist,” also weighed in, asking not for Bertram”s resignation, but simply for Bertram and English to listen to the community.
“A lot of us have a little group that we listen to and advise us,” he said. “But if you don”t listen to the whole community, you might be in the wrong. I recommend that you step out of your group and listen to the community, and listen to what they”re saying.”
Cano added that, in his opinion, the controversy surrounding the police force reduction and recall election are causing a split in the community, and that the split is not helping anyone.
Bertram reminded the public that at the last meeting, the council and city staff were highly complimented for working with a group of property owners to solve a problem with rental property inspections. He also pointed out that he alone, and not the entire voting membership of the council, was targeted by the recall petition.
In brief council news:
Garry Kimball, from the city”s financial advisory firm First Southwest Company, announced that his firm has located a refinancing opportunity that could save the city upwards of $17,000 per year on 1996 Series Certificates of Obligation. He asked the council to consider allowing his firm to pursue the opportunities, which could lower the interest rates on the Certificates of Obligation from 5.75 percent to nearly 4.25 percent.
The council approved a resolution authorizing the publication of a Notice of Intention to Issue Certificates of Obligation. The city will hold public hearings in the near future to discuss the issuance of $550,000 in Certificates of Obligation for the purchase and construction of property, principally the former location of Bluebonnet Electric Co-op. Because of his position with Bluebonnet, Councilman Kenny Roland abstained from the vote.
The city passed an Ordinance, 06-01, imposing idling restrictions in connection with the Early Action Compact Task Force. The ordinance will restrict certain vehicles over 14,000 pounds from idling for extended periods. It was passed as a preemptive strike, intended to keep the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from introducing and enforcing harsher restrictions.
Four B Paving out of Spring Branch, Texas was awarded a contract for $71,820 to perform 171,000 linear feet of hot crack sealing of several streets in Lockhart.
The Lockhart City Council meets on the first and third Tuesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. in the Glosserman Conference Center at Lockhart City Hall. Meetings are open to the public, and area residents are invited to attend.