By AMANDA LOVIZA
Glasgow Daily Times
While most city council members trust the decision made for Glasgow’s new police chief, there have been varying degrees of information made available to the council members before they are to vote on the hiring of Guy J. Turcotte at Monday night’s council meeting.
Only two council members, Doug Isenberg and William Webb, said they received both Turcotte’s resume and additional background information through the committee that selected Turcotte. Wendell Honeycutt, James “Happy” Neal and Stacy Norman Hammer received Turcotte’s resume but no background check, Harold Armstrong said he got all his information on Turcotte from a source outside the committee and Jimmy Ferrell said he has not seen any information on Turcotte but does not need the information until the meeting. Harold Armstrong, Honeycutt and Isenberg were the only council members who said they had done their own Internet background check on Turcotte.
Turcotte was selected by a committee comprised of Mayor Rhonda Trautman, Council Member Freddie Norris, City Attorney Ben Rogers and retired State Trooper Tommy Pendleton. The selection was announced at a press conference at 4 p.m. Friday. After the announcement was made, members of the community expressed concerns about Turcotte to the Glasgow Daily Times based on Google searches. The Daily Times has followed this information with Internet research and calls to sources who have worked with Turcotte in the past. Discrepancies in Turcotte’s resume and negative allegations about his past conduct in the workforce have been uncovered.
Armstrong, who said he did not receive his information about Turcotte from the selection committee, said that his own research into Turcotte’s background produced concerns over hiring Turcotte. He said he planned to discuss the matter with the mayor before Monday’s meeting to see if her information matched his, and if his information was correct Armstrong said he would not support hiring Turcotte as the new chief.
Isenberg and Honeycutt were the only other council members interviewed who said they had conducted their own research on Turcotte. Isenberg said that anything negative he found in his research into Turcotte had been explained. Honeycutt said the only concern he had had was the fact that Turcotte had sued some former employers, but he said that when Turcotte’s reasons were explained to him it made sense. Isenberg will wait until the meeting to make a complete opinion, but Honeycutt said he will support the hiring of Turcotte because he has “complete faith” in the selection committee.
Webb, Hammer, Honeycutt and Neal also said they will support the hiring of Turcotte. Each expressed confidence in the selection committee, and Neal said he had talked to a committee member who said they had done a background check. When asked about discrepancies discovered in the last couple days, Neal said, “I don’t think they would have hired him if it had been that bad.”
Ferrell said that he did not need to look at Turcotte’s information until the meeting, and that’s when he would make his decision about Turcotte.
“We’re just gonna let it ride until tonight, and we’ll see what happens,” Ferrell said Monday morning.
Council members Linda Wells, Marlin Witcher, Brad Groce and Jim Marion were not available for comment.
Freddie Norris, the council member on the selection committee, said that he and the committee are firm in their belief that they have chosen the right candidate for the Glasgow police chief. Mayor Trautman went beyond just Turcotte’s supplied references and looked up old newspaper articles and called people who had worked with Turcotte. The committee then interviewed eight of the original 29 candidates, asking each of the candidates the same standard questions regarding specific policies and how to run the police department. Each interview lasted about two hours, Norris said. After the interviews were complete, Norris said the four committee members voted by secret ballot for their first, second and third choices, and Turcotte was unanimously selected as the top candidate.
“We wanted to do the right thing and select the right person,” Norris said, and he stands by the committee’s decision.
Norris pointed out that everyone has blemishes in their past, and it is time to move forward. Glasgow has had a rocky four or six years, and it is time to give Turcotte “every opportunity to make our Glasgow Police Department better,” he said.