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      Town of Latta votes on change of government

      Standing room only at Latta Town Council meeting on April 17 where the council decided to hold a special election to see if the town's form of government could be changed.

      Voters in the Town of Latta decided Tuesday to change their form of government from Strong Mayor to Strong Council.

      The results were:

      328 - Yes

      147 - No

      In April, the Town Council decided to hold a special election on June 24 to let voters decide what type of government they want for the town.

      Currently the town has a strong-mayor-weak-council system.

      The questioning of the town's form of government began after Mayor Earl Bullard fired former Latta Police Chief Crystal Moore on April 15.

      Moore has said she believes she was fired for being an openly gay woman, while Bullard has said he had cause to fire her based on several reprimands she had received for questioning the authority of a supervisor, contacting the news media to bring disorder to the town of Latta and not maintaining order at council meetings.

      After Moore's firing the Town Council wanted to hire her back, but lacked the power to do so within the current government form.

      On May 22, the town grievance committee found that there was no proof Moore was fired for being gay, but made no recommendation about further action.

      Moore said she was not satisfied with the grievance committee's ruling since it did not address the reprimands that were the official basis for her firing.

      "The grievance committee was supposed to be looking into the reprimands. The seven reprimands is the reason that he said he fired me. And they're bogus. I have policies and procedures to go by all those reprimands. And that's what they were supposed to decide on," she said.

      Moore said she is "still fighting for my job."

      Now that voters decided to change the form of government, there is a chance that Moore could be reinstated to her position as Latta Police Chief.

      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.