McKinney Councilman Travis Ussery has released a statement about the reorganization of the McKinney Police Department, joining the voices of Mayor Brian Loughmiller and Councilman Ray Ricchi, who issued public statements last week.
On Oct. 5, the city announced that Doug Kowalski was "no longer the Chief of the McKinney Police Department. He has been reassigned" effective immediately. The statement went on to say that Joe Williams, who had served as Deputy City Manager with the City of McKinney since May 2011, had been named McKinney Chief of Police.
The McKinney City Council met in a closed session Monday to discuss the changes, and Loughmiller and Ricchi subsequently released statements. Following is the statement Ussery released late Friday.
Statement from Councilman Travis Ussery, District 3:
"Friends and McKinney Citizens: During my time in office in the City of McKinney, I have, above all else, believed, and continue to believe, the voice of the people should be heard and respected.
"I have embraced several sources for confirmation of this and two resonate of late: the last line of the Gettysburg Address: 'that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth' and a quote from Thomas Jefferson to John Jay in 1785: 'I think it is a duty in those entrusted with the administration of their affairs to conform themselves to the decided choice of their constituents.' [Thomas Jefferson to John Jay, 1785 ME 5:94, Papers 8:426.]
"Given the volume of communications I have received on the recent administrative changes in the City of McKinney, I make the following statement.
"The City Manager of the City of McKinney is empowered to manage the city as he sees fit, subject to limited recourse by the elected officials. The change of leadership in the Police Department is within his purview as City Manager.
"I haven't reached peace that I personally agree with the change, but I respect his authority to do so. I cannot, however, reach peace with the means of delivering the message. Also, the manner of change in Chiefs is inconsistent with the expected process and transparency the citizens have come to expect and deserve.
"I believe the citizens are due a communication as to the nature of the change. Further, I believe a formal search for the best qualified candidate would be in the best interest of the City. Restoration of confidence in the decision making process is a needed and this would be a step in that direction.
"I continue to listen to citizen commentary and appreciate the same."