Ackerman Aldermen discuss police issues, property cleanup

By Amanda McBride

The Choctaw Plaindealer


The Ackerman Board of Aldermen held a long, busy board meeting on July 2 with two executive sessions.

The board approved the resignation from Police Chief Tanya Burton, effective July 5. They also approved to declare the position open as of July 6.

Under old business, Mayor Dick Cain said Ward 2 Alderman Tommy Curtis looked into the Tina Goodin police issue. After that, Police Chief Tanya Burton asked Doug DeGruise, APD part-time officer, to resign, according to Cain in the meeting.

Kevin Null, board attorney, said DeGruise should turn in his resignation to the town.

Also in the July 2 meeting, Elizabeth Clark attended the meeting to file a complaint against DeGruise.

Null said, before she spoke, that Clark has charges against her and advised her anything said could be used against her in court since he is the town and county prosecutor.

Clark decided to speak without her attorney present. She said that DeGruise arrested her on May 23 on Main Street. Then he called a civilian to the scene and allowed him into the police car to threaten her, according to Clark.

Clark said she has video evidence of this. She also claims that DeGruise questioned her two children, at a different time, without her knowledge or permission.

Cain said that DeGruise no longer works for the APD and that her claims should be in court.

The Board of Aldermen also heard another complaint on a different issue. Charles Peay asked the board to place speed bumps on Center Street, where he lives. He said people speed down his street where children are playing and that “we need something to slow people down.”

Peay also complained about loud or noisy cars and trucks traveling with excessive noise. The board agreed to increase the police presence in that area before considering placing speed bumps there.

The aldermen also discussed a letter from Superintendent Glen Beard requesting to make changes to the town’s baseball and softball fields.

Cain said Beard requested to change the Ackerman A decals to the Choctaw County Charger decals, change the gold stripe to red and to change the Ackerman name on the scoreboard to Chargers. These changes would be at no cost to the Town of Ackerman.

This letter spurred a discussion on whether or not the Choctaw County School District should keep the Ackerman Indian championship signs up on those fields.

“I think the Ackerman Indian championships and district championships should stay up there,” said Ward 3 Alderman George Rooks.

“I understand changing the A’s, but they won the championships fair and square,” added Rooks.

After more discussion Curtis and Alderman At Large Carl Phelps said they agree with Rooks.

Cain reminded the board that the championship banners belong to the CCSD and that they pay to use the fields.

“We have to remember we own the field, they own the school. They pay to use it,” said Cain.

The CCSD pays the town $5,000 per year for the use of the fields for the school teams.

The board approved the requests in the letter. Whether or not the championship banners are removed or not is a decision for the CCSD.

The Town of Ackerman recently held public hearings on the following property after notifying the landowners to clean their property:

-167 Chester Street. The town cleaned the property and approved to assess $791 to the property.

-Cap Weld building. No one attended the hearing and the town has had no response. The board approved to proceed with clean up.

-Lou Fair property on Louisville Street. The board approved to proceed with clean up.

-Anthony Morton property on N. Louisville Street. If it is not clean within one week, the town approved to clean up the property.

-Nancy Henson property near the Ackerman Inn. She was notified and cleaned up the property.

The board also discussed how to contact Ray Mabus to clean up his property behind Black Brothers near Seward Street. Mike Brasher, Public Works director, also mentioned using equipment to clean up that particular property and possibly cleaning up the town’s property near that area.

Another discussion in the board meeting concerned the pine trees at the Tom Glasgow Park. The board has discussed several times possibly cutting down the trees because the roots are causing problems in the park.

Curtis said the board has discussed this for two years and he would like to see the trees cut.

Ward 4 Alderman Billy Ganann said he would like to see the trees in question before the board approves to cut them down.

“I’m not going to vote to cut the trees tonight,” said Ganann.

No action was taken at this time.

The Board of Aldermen also held two separate executive sessions to discuss personnel matters. No action was taken in either session.

The Board of Aldermen also approved:

-The re-appointment of municipal officials-Debbie Boley as town clerk, Mike Brasher as Public Works director, Carroll Mewbourn as fire chief and Kevin Null as board attorney.

-To elect Alderman At Large Carl “Barney” Phelps as Mayor Pro-Tempore.

-Order authorizing check signers-Mayor Dick Cain, Mayor Pro-Tempore Barney Phelps, Town Clerk-Debbie Boley and Deputy Town Clerk-Ann Coleman.

-To re-adopt the personnel policies.

-Travel for the 2013 MML Convention July 14-18 for Dick Cain, George Rooks, Tommy Curtis, Billy Ganann, Carl Phelps, Debbie Boley and Kevin Null.

-To add the charge of a meal, not to exceed $35, to a town’s prisoner at the county jail.

-For the Pioneer Community Hospital of Choctaw to pay a $1,500 water/sewer deposit for using both at the new hospital.