Trouble in Tignal

tignalTIGNALL, Ga. (WJBF) – A disagreement in city policy started after the mayor in a Wilkes County town decided to get rid of the police department on his own.

Town of Tignall mayor Henry Brown disbanded the one man police chief, Mike Arrington, last week.  He stated in the local paper that the city has a strong mayor and the charter gives him authority over the police.

Some residents of Tignall told NewsChannel 6 what Mayor Brown did is OK, but the action has the city council feeling powerless.

Christ Roebuck gave us his thoughts right outside city hall.

“It’s quiet out here and it’s a good community so we’re the police,” he said.

It doesn’t seem to bother Larry Slaton that much at all either.

“They generally keep two patrolmen around here most of the time. They do a good job patrolling.  They’re here nights and weekends and everything where we didn’t have that before. All we had was Monday through Friday,” he said.

Slaton, who has lived in Tignall more than 70 years, said it’s probably the best idea because he estimates it will save the town as much as $30,000 a year.

“Very fine with it.  Saves Tignall a lot of money because they don’t have taxes or a lot of money.  They can save a bunch of money every year,” he said.

Mayor Brown chose to eliminate the one man police department August 19, cutting Chief Arrington’s 40 hour weekday down to zero.

All of the council members disagree.

Leon Aycock stated, “I still don’t believe that you had the full enough authority to dissolve the police department.”

Their disagreement led to a special meeting called to review the charter.  But City Attorney Michael Horgan said he gave the mayor the green light.

Michael Horgan told the council at the meeting, “I didn’t see where the charter prevented him from doing this.”

Councilwoman Nobie Keener told the group she believes it’s all personal.

“We know that you and Mike did not agree on a lot of things. That’s why we’re here today,” she said.

The Tignall City council voted to change the city’s charter to make sure that the mayor does not have power on his own to make decisions.  That change will come soon.

We reached out to the Wilkes County Sheriff’s Office to see when they will absorb the City of Tignall’s police department.  Sheriff Mark Moore was away at training and could not respond before this story aired.  However, deputies are already patrolling the area.


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