Sealy City Council votes to keep police chief for now

Sealy's city council voted unanimously late last night not to fire the chief, as the city manager had planned to do
February 25, 2014 4:18:43 AM PST
The Sealy City Council voted unanimously to keep the police chief on the job after the city manager tried to fire him.

The will of the people trumped the will of City Manager Chris Coffman. Coffman took Sealy Police Chief John Tollet's job away, but the city council gave it back late last night, citing his "leadership" and "integrity."

The standing-room-only meeting didn't wrap up until almost 11pm. There was a large show of support from officers as well as citizens.

Coffman filed a notice of termination last week. At issue was the fact that the chief had sought input from a state agency called the Texas Municipal Police Association regarding his officers' on-call pay, and the city manager didn't like that he went to that agency.

Coffman spoke at the meeting for more than three hours on his position, reading more than a 100 pages of documents and accusing Tollet of deleting public records from his e-mail without approval, lying to Coffman and failing to communicate and follow some of his instructions.

The chief's attorney says they do not agree with this evaluation, and they point out he was seeking input on getting his officers the same overtime benefits as other city departments.

Citizens jumped to Tollet's defense, saying they will fight to protect the man who protects them.

"The reason this is a fine police department is because of the chief," longtime resident Frances Gorman said. "He has shown leadership. He is a man of high integrity. He is honest. He does get out in the community. He came to my kid's football games."

Tollet, who was Employee of the Year in 2012, will stay on for now during a probationary period, which will last six months. He will be re-reviewed by the same city manager who tried to fire him.

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