News houses all over the country are reporting the latest update on the Trayvon Martin case. This time, the news scene is away from the jailhouse where George Zimmerman was taken into custody and later released on a $150,000 bond.
Let’s move over to Sanford City Hall. Several weeks ago, Sanford Mayor Jeff Triplett and the city commission passed a 3-2 vote of no confidence in Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee in how his department handled the shooting death of unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon at the hands of George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer.
News on April 23 was more shocking: The same city commission did an about-face by rejecting the police chief’s letter of resignation. In essence, they stopped Bill Lee from resigning. Lee and City Manager Nelson Bonaparte Jr. had agreed to a separation package for the police chief, to restore the trust of many Sanford residents in the police department and move forward to some resemblance of healing.
Here is the kicker: It was the mayor’s vote that contradicted the city commission’s vote of no confidence several weeks ago. In other words, he voted “no confidence” at first and then he voted not to accept the police chief’s resignation. He said in news reports that he wanted to wait for an independent investigation of the police department to be completed.
The fact that Governor Rick Scott employed a special prosecutor to review the case and that special prosecutor concluded that there was indeed probable cause to arrest Zimmerman, was enough reason for the Sanford commission to accept Lee’s resignation at the recent meeting.
The city commission should reconsider its vote and accept Lee’s resignation.
I keep thinking about Trayvon mother’s anthem: it’s not a black and white thing; it’s a right and wrong thing. Many Sanford residents joined Trayvon’s family in their search for the truth of what happened to him and the case has gotten worldwide attention.
Accepting Lee’s resignation and doing some house cleaning within the police department would be the right thing and the cost-effective thing to do. For about a month, Lee has been and is still on paid administrative leave, receiving his normal salary. And Capt. Darren Scott is acting police chief. Not sure how much they are paying him to handle the additional responsibilities but Sanford taxpayers are most likely paying two people to do the same job. Bonaparte, the city manager, said in reports it could be months before that independent investigation is completed.
Wake up Sanford: It’s time for change. Now.
Hopefully, Sanford leaders are willing to move the right way and change Sanford for the better.
© Orlando Community News, 2012