In the days since the fateful collision of Mayor-elect Steve Benjamin and long-time Clarion waitress Deborah Reubens, Chief Tandy Carter’s actions… or lack there of… have been reminiscent of Alexander Haig in the shadows of the Reagan assassination attempt. Remember the “I am in charge” declaration?
Carter must have been taking notes, because he is still screaming the same words.
He has resisted common sense and has shown a complete lack of respect… dare we even say contempt… for city leaders.
Why is it that Chief Carter is holding the incident report in his holster, unwilling to collaborate with any other law enforcement agency? Could it be that the incident procedure was poorly executed at best? Perhaps.
Think of it… Steve Benjamin has just emerged as the new mayor-elect. Celebration is in the air. In the wee hours of the following morning, the mayor-elect is involved in a horrid accident… and no one even thinks of a sobriety test. No one thinks of protocol.
No one even considers the potential semblance of impropriety when the public-safety-endorsed candidate is being investigated by the very folks who endorsed him.
We have been told from the inside that it was Carter who refused to turn over the investigation to the highway patrol when the facts of who was involved came to light.
And now, he’s bypassing his immediate superior, Steve Gantt, and Gantt’ bosses, City Council, by calling… of all people, the Attorney General… for permission to snub the boss.
Why is the leadership of this city turning to Henry McMaster at every turn to ask what to do?
We at The Pulse had a chance to talk with Carter just after he began his tenure with the City, and he made it very clear at the time that his police force wasn’t going to get mixed up in city politics.
Paraphrasing the Chief, “I don’t tell the politicians how run this city. They don’t need to tell me how to run the police department.”
Carter might want to call Dean Crisp and Charles Austin for some advice. He’s likely going to need their experience… in searching for a new job.
The irony in all of this is the fact that Carter is a military-trained individual… a Marine at that.
Chief, is it not true that when your commanding officer gives you orders to stand down, you do it?
Obviously, Carter has forgotten his training and has simply gone rogue.
The under-rumblings of this political battlefield is a fact very few Columbians realize. This Capital city operates under a weak mayor system.
If you understand the semantics of this form of government, you come to see that it’s the city manager who ultimately leads the troops. There is no authority higher in the city for day-to-day matters. The major difference between the city manager and the city council is the fact that the manager has no vote.
He does, however, have the power to hire, fire, and maintain the agenda as it pertains to the best interest of the citizens. Look for him to start executing that power very clearly, very soon.
Chief Carter either does not understand his marching orders or is simply ignoring them. This is the typical, dangerous fallout of a weak mayor system, and once again, our city is left vulnerable.
Bucking the system has absolutely no place in this situation. Carter is simply flexing his insubordination.
Before November, the strong form of government is slated for city council’s agenda. If Carter can hold on until then, and if he waits for this form of new government to be installed, the one he let get away, might very well be the one showing him the door.