Blue Mound Purchases Their Public Water System
Police chief Randy Baker could lose his job next week after the mayor placed him on administrative paid leave following a reprimand for insubordination and disrespecting city employees.
The city council will discuss Baker’s employment during the July 2 meeting at 7 p.m.
Mayor Alan Hooks said it is up to the city council to decide if Baker should be fired or if he should keep his job.
“From my perspective, I hope the council does go forward and fire Baker,” Hooks said.
Attempts to reach Baker for comment were unsuccessful.
Hooks described how Baker received two letters in December reprimanding him and warning him that he could be terminated if his behavior toward employees didn’t improve.
The letters were written after the Oct. 23 council meeting. Details of the meeting were unavailable.
Hooks said after Baker received the reprimand letter from the city council, his behavior improved until last month.
Hooks accused Baker of “flipping off” two water department employees who were installing a new storage tank near the police department. The road was closed while the workers were putting in the new tank.
“Baker thought he could use the road to get to the police department, and he flipped off the employees,” Hooks said.
Baker came to Blue Mound after he was fired from his job as a resource officer in the Carroll school district. Baker was fired for handcuffing an autistic student.
The student’s parents sued Southlake and the Carroll school district, but the suit was dismissed when a federal judge said that Baker acted reasonably under the circumstances.
Baker was a supervising sergeant who was called to help another officer with an unruly student.
Hooks said that he thought at the time that Baker was “railroaded” and that Blue Mound wanted to help him out.
Hooks said he believed Baker’s insubordination was due to the mayor discussing the possibility of contracting law enforcement assistance with the Tarrant County sheriff’s department because of budget concerns. Other cities, including Haslet and Edgecliff Village, also contract with the sheriff’s department for deputies to patrol the streets.
“No decisions were made. I simply asked the council for permission to talk to the sheriff’s office … It was like a nuclear explosion went off when people found out about it,” Hooks said.
Hooks said Blue Mound faces tough choices after legislation passed capping the amount that cities can increase the property tax rate to 3.5 percent.
Blue Mound’s tax rate is 69 cents per $100 of assessed value, and the city’s budget is $1.7 million. The police department gets $1 million, and the remaining $700,000 funds the rest of Blue Mound’s operations. If the city contracts with the sheriff’s department, Hooks estimated the city’s savings at $200,000 per year.
Blue Mound has a detective, six patrol officers, the police chief and four dispatchers to cover a city of around 2,500 people, Hooks said.
“Laying people off doesn’t do any good,” he said.