GREAT BEND Kan. (KSNW) – A fiery Monday night city council meeting is the talk of the town in Great Bend Tuesday afternoon.
“They are pretty set in their ways,” said Great Bend resident Rechael Register. “I think they already had their decision made on whether or not to fire the chief before he decided he was going to fight against it.”
“To my knowledge, the investigation was not complete before they took action as far as the suspension, and I think that was handled poorly,” added Ed Heier, another Great Bend resident.
Overall, a frustrated community.
Weeks after Chief Couch was suspended, accused of not following procedures in accusing city administrator Howard Partington and Mayor Mike Allison of misconduct, community members were calling for action.
KSN reached out to council members to get their reactions.
Council member Wayne Henneke did not answer his door. Last night, he voted to keep the current suspension.
Council member Joel Jackson voted against the motion to reinstate the chief.
“My vote is based on what happened in executive session and it is unethical to discuss those issues,” explained Jackson.
Neither the city administrator nor the mayor were available for comment.
Dana Dawson, who supports the chief, made a Facebook post calling for protests “at the homes and businesses of the weakest.” The post went on to say, “they are definitely not representing the citizens of Great Bend.”
Brock McPherson, also voting to reinstate the chief, said, “I’m not optimistic there will be an investigation, but I think there needs to be one.”
A divided council with a vocal community.
“When somebody stands up for what they believe in, they (Mayor and City Admin.) want to try and hurry up and get rid of them if it is something that they don’t agree with. The city is going to be in an uproar,” said Register.
“It gives Great Bend really a bad black eye with this whole thing,” adds Heier.
The city council did say they would discuss an investigation at the next city council meeting.
KSN spoke briefly with Chief Couch who says he is focused on preparing for the upcoming hearing and hopes to be reinstated.