Results certified from Latta referendum changing town government

File image of a Latta Town Council meeting in April where the council voted to hold to speical election to change the town's form of government

The results of Tuesday's election in Latta to change the town's form of government were certified Friday morning.

Voters approved a referendum Tuesday that would change the town's form of government from Strong Mayor-Weak Council to Weak Mayor-Strong Council.

Those results, which were 328 "yes" votes and 147 "no" votes, were certified Friday morning by the Latta Municipal Election Commission.

According to the SC Municipal Association, the town council will now need to notify the SC Secretary of State Office and then that office would begin to make changes in Latta's town code to reflect its new form of government.

Council members say they called the SC Secretary of State Friday to inform the office of the change of government.

WPDE has called and emailed the SC Secretary of State's spokesperson several times to ask if this change has gone through, we have not received a call back.

Council wanted a change of government after Mayor Earl Bullard fired Latta's longtime police chief Crystal Moore in April.

Council said at the time it would rehire Moore if voters approved the change to a Strong Council form of government, which happened Tuesday.

But one day after the referendum vote, Bullard announced that he hired Freddie Davis as the town's new police chief.

Davis was hired June 18, and the contract was signed on June 23, Bullard said.

Latta Town Council is holding a special meeting Friday night at 7 p.m. to discuss the police chief, budget and change of government, according to officials at town hall.

Some Latta council members say they'll discuss rehiring Moore and reverse the mayor's hiring of Davis.

Bullard said Davis' contact is valid and addresses a change in the form of government so that Davis will still have to be paid under a Strong Council form of government.

Bullard added if council fires Davis, they will need to pay him the $80,000 left on his two year contract.

Some council members questioned if Davis' contract is valid because Bullard didn't have council's approval before he entered into it, as required by Latta's Town Code.

Bullard said council needs to hire a town attorney before they make any decisions.

We will have a crew at tonight's meeting and keep you posted as to what happens.