Police Chief Jack Ely retired late last week after several council members questioned items in the crime district budget, including vehicle purchases.
City Manager Jim Ryan confirmed Monday that Ely, who had been police chief for nine years, retired Thursday and that he gave the city two weeks’ notice.
However, Ely is taking vacation time and has cleared out his office, Ryan said.
“Mr. Ely didn’t resign; he retired. Jack’s last words were, ‘You know, I’ve just had enough of the politics,’” Ryan said.
Ely, who was the police chief at Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth before coming to White Settlement, did not return phone calls seeking comment Monday.
Ryan praised Ely for instituting high-quality training among police officers. He said a search will be conducted internally for his replacement.
The issue of the city’s crime district, funded by a half-cent sales tax, has pitted newly elected Mayor Ron White against several council members, including Danny Anderson, who questioned the crime district’s budget, saying that it was vague and did not list specific purchases.
In recent weeks, the council voted to replace the crime board with members of the council and then voted to reverse its decision, keeping the crime board intact.
White, who won in a runoff election against former Mayor Jerry Burns, said that Anderson’s claims are “unfounded and that there is no evidence of misspending.
“I’m told that he [Ely] retired, but I think it was in place of a resignation; that’s what the city manager told us,” he said.
White said Anderson’s allegations included questions about the Police Department purchasing vehicles for personal use and problems with the K-9 unit.
White called Anderson’s claims “baseless” and said they came about when he learned that one of the vehicles purchased was a pickup for Ely to use.
White asked Anderson to produce evidence of problems with the purchases and was told the evidence was in the city manager’s office. When White checked with the city manager, he was told that Anderson did not present any evidence.
Ryan said the crime district budget included purchases of two Tahoes for the Police Department and the pickup. The truck was purchased according to state law, Ryan said.
Meanwhile, Anderson said there was an internal audit of the crime district’s budget.
“The mayor is new at this and has never held any political office,” Anderson said.
Anderson said there were concerns that the crime district’s budget was vague and that it did not specify the types of vehicles that were purchased.
“We were told to mind our own business and not worry about it. We’ve had problems in the past with the crime board,” he said.
Anderson said he wants to see policies in place to have more oversight, including joint budget sessions between the crime board and the council.
“The mayor is making a big stink over nothing because he wasn’t willing to come in and see what the hell we were talking about,” Anderson said.
During Tuesday’s regular council meeting, there are items on the agenda addressing concerns over the crime district budget and the mayor’s conduct.
White has asked that the portion of the meeting dealing with his behavior be held in open session instead of in an executive session.
Elizabeth Campbell, 817-390-7696