Gomez, Riley not happy with chief's departure
by Clay Neely
Grantville City Council Members Leonard Gomez and David Riley aren’t happy.
Following the suspension and subsequent resignation of ex-police chief Doug Jordan, Gomez feels the decision was rash and made in a state of emotional turmoil and not from a position of reason.
“As far as I’m concerned, it’s hearsay,” Gomez said. “I still haven’t seen any evidence, so how can I feel comfortable believing that this was a wise decision?”
Gomez feels that if this wasn’t an election year, the issue wouldn’t have been addressed so severely.
“You don’t ruin someone’s career to save your own,” Gomez said. “That’s just a universal truth.”
Gomez doesn’t believe Jordan is a racist. He said the importance of context is crucial before demonizing a person.
“We don’t know how he used it and obviously the other black officer didn’t have a problem with it,” Gomez said. “It’s just been blown out of proportion again. They’ve been trying to get rid of the chief since last year.”
Ultimately, Gomez is grateful – stating the current state of affairs could have been much more dire.
“We had officers who were ready to quit upon hearing of his suspension,” Gomez said. “They were saying, ‘If the Chief leaves, I’m leaving.’ Thank God that Lieutenant Scott Wilson talked them into staying.”
Gomez believes context is the most crucial element to the story that hasn’t been addressed.
“When we first met, two of the black councilmen called me part of the Third Reich. As a hispanic, I had to ask myself, ‘What’s that about?’ How do you think that looks on paper? I’m not prejudiced,” Gomez said.
“To be called a Nazi by another city council member? I was embarrassed and insulted,” said Riley. “It was our first meeting. What did we do to deserve that? Because I’m white, it’s OK to say that? When I took issue with that, [Councilman Barham] Lundy said, ‘I can say whatever I want.’ Well, that’s convenient.”
Calls to Councilman Lundy were not returned.
A native of Pennsylvania, Riley moved to Georgia in 2002 and admits he had no idea to the extent racism runs in Grantville.
“It’s unfortunate,” Riley said. “It’s too bad because we want to move this city forward, and little things keep coming up. We’re simply tired of all the name calling. Frankly, I’m looking forward to this next election and finding three solid citizens who want to move the city forward with us.”
While Gomez is unhappy with how the situation has ultimately played out, he remains upbeat and positive – noting that resentment is wasted energy. With the roles of city manager and now police chief vacant, Gomez wants the city to come together in order to get things back on track.
“As a representative of the city, when I make a decision, it’s not for me – it’s for those that I serve,” Gomez said. “My job is to be a voice for the people. Right or wrong, I do my best to make an informed decision.”