Southsider Voice correspondent, Al Stilley is reporting today that Mayor Testruth has removed Public Safety Director, Kevin Bandy and fellow safety board member, Andrew Harrison from the Southport Safety Board. Both deny any correspondence or official notification from Testruth removing them. “Yes, we walked out of the meeting Saturday when Mayor Testruth could not see that laws were being broken. We didn’t want to be part of the cover-up” said Bandy. “We certainly didn’t resign” agrees Harrison. “We wanted the illegal activities to stop but Ellison refused advice from Director Bandy”. Harrison went further explaining, “Shoot, if stepping out of a meeting in protest means resignations, then the Southport Council all must have resigned in 2009 when they all walked out during the July council meeting. Kevin and I don’t see it that way“.
Earlier this morning, Bandy delivered official notice of a scheduled public meeting of the safety board (May 23, 2012 at 7 PM) to Southport Clerk-Treasurer, Diana Bossingham. Along with the notice, Bandy hand-delivered a letter from the safety board outlining recent allegations and the need for further inquiry. Bandy, in this letter to Mayor Testruth and Council President, Jim Cooney also explained that the Board is calling the special meeting according to Indiana statute.
Parts of that letter reveal:
Last month, we received specific allegations of a serious nature that obligates us to investigate concerns presented by private citizens in Southport. As the duly appointed and currently serving members of the Southport Board of Public Safety, we are privileged to use the powers granted to this Board by the State of Indiana.”
Our concerns are sincere and rest first with the safety and protection of our neighbors, the citizens of Southport. As importantly, our sworn obligation is to ensure the validity of our police department and its officers as well as the legality of the actions of any of its members.
We understand that to seek the truth requires a process that has been well established and is outlined in Indiana state statutes and within administrative law. We look forward to a fruitful resolution that serves our citizens, the Southport Police Department and the community at large.
Bandy and Harrison expect to continue as appointed board members until receiving official notice from the Mayor of their removal. It is unclear what ramifications are involved when standing Safety Board members initiate an inquiry that involves City employees.
Chief Ellison and Assistant Chief, William “Wild Bill” Bick were relieved of their command earlier this week after Mayor Testruth confirmed that both were not compliant with Indiana requirements for police officers. Ellison admitted Saturday that he had authorized Bick to use police powers independently in Southport – knowing that he had not completed his required training. Ellison also admitted that his credentials may not be valid as well. “I don’t know where my certificates are” said Ellison, “but I’ll start looking for them on Monday morning”.
Neither has completed their 40 hour requirements and only yesterday both Bick and Ellison finished one aspect of the state mandated requirements, the hand-gun qualifications.
It doesn’t seem that whistle-blowers have a chance under Mayor Testruth’s administration.