Burdette hired as Como chief 7/12/2013

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 12, 2013

Burdette hired as Como chief

By John Howell

Como’s mayor and board of aldermen named Earl Burdette as the town’s chief of police during an executive session that lasted over two hours Tuesday night.

Como policemen Otis Jones and Travis Nichols announced their resignations after Burdette’s selection was told. Burdette, a former Panola County deputy sheriff, succeeds Fred Boskey as chief. Boskey resigned from the post on June 26.

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The newly-sworn town elected officials were about 40 minutes into their meeting when they voted to enter executive session to consider rehiring all town employees. The meeting room in the Como library had been filled to its capacity of about 35 people when the announcement was made to close the meeting.

The room full of people had overtaxed the building’s air conditioning, prompting people to fan themselves in the close quarters.

Citizens filed outside into the even warmer late afternoon, leaving the elected officials alone.
As the sun lowered and mosquitoes joined the crowd, townspeople milling around the library’s outside garden area drifted away, leaving mostly municipal employees waiting to be interviewed.
During the executive session, elected officials considered both town employees and appointed officials.

When the meeting was reopened to the public about two hours later, the considerably reduced number of spectators re-entered a room where the air conditioning had recovered.

Municipal Clerk Kara Killebrew announced that all then-current town employees had been rehired and that Burdette had been named chief and Fay Pettis assistant chief.

New and rehired employees were placed on a 90-day probation, Killebrew said.

Other police officers rehired were Nichols, Jones, Larry Williams and Harold Lewis, and Steve Webb on an “as needed” basis.

Killebrew then said that Nichols and Jones had resigned.

Additional municipal employees rehired, in addition to Killebrew, included Court Clerk Bertha Jones, Derrick Jones, part-time director of maintenance and Fred Jones, maintenance.

Officials reappointed to their posts were Gaines Baker, municipal judge; John Calvin Patterson, municipal attorney and Michael Purdy, certified water operator.

The position of town prosecutor was left open.

Killebrew had earlier in the meeting recommended that town officials contact the contractor who installed the air conditioning at the library about the cooling problems.

“It’s my understanding that this air conditioning was installed as part of the energy grant,” Killebrew said.

“I suggest that we contact the people who installed it and have them correct these issue,” she said, citing repair expenditures that had totaled $1,255 during the last 10 months.

In November, 2011, the town received an Energy Efficiency Grant of $28,000 through the North Delta Planning and Development District.