JOHNSON (KFSM) – The Johnson police chief was reinstated by the City Council on Tuesday night after he was fired by the mayor last week because of a disagreement over officer pay compensation.
Chief Vernon Sisemore received the four votes needed out of six council members to overturn Mayor Buddy Curry’s decision to fire Sisemore. The Johnson City Council deliberated for nearly two hours before announcing its decision.
Four council members voted to overturn the mayor’s firing of the police chief. One alderman voted against the motion, and one alderman abstained from voting.
The announcement of the vote was met with applause by the full conference room where the council meeting took place. Sisemore shook council members hands’, along with several members of the crowd.
The police chief told 5NEWS he felt vindicated by the decision and wants to get back to work for the people of Johnson. Curry did not give comment.
Sisemore said he requested the city allow compensatory time for officers who worked overtime hours. The mayor approved the request in June, but later declined it in August, saying the officers were considered essential public service workers and were exempt from some compensatory time off, the police chief said.
The disagreement between Sisemore and Curry over compensatory time for police officers eventually led to the mayor firing the police chief Oct. 6. A termination letter from the mayor to the police chief does not mention a reason for Sisemore’s firing. Curry told 5NEWS last week he could not release the reason for Sisemore's termination.
The termination also stems from a Washington County Sheriff's Office investigation into the mayor concerning potential campaign violations, the police chief said Tuesday night. Officials said they are looking into allegations against the mayor but cannot release further information at this time.
(See the mayor's termination letter to the police chief below)