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Former Kirby councilman to head China Grove PD
Former China Grove city Councilman Mary Ann Hajek addresses the city council at its Feb. 6 meeting, urging the council to be more transparent in its decision making.
Wilson County NewsFebruary 12, 2014 3,645 views 3 comments
CHINA GROVE (revised) -- Raymond M. “Mike” Grant did not have an interview and he was the only one to apply for the job, according to China Grove Mayor Eugene Ripps. Yet, Grant was unanimously selected by the city council Feb. 6 to serve as the city’s next police chief.
Grant’s annual salary will not exceed $28,000 and his hire is subject to the successful completion of a three-month probationary period, which also will include a drug screening and criminal background check.
He previously served as a Kirby city councilman. According to minutes posted on that city’s website and to San Antonio Express-News articles, Grant served in that capacity for at least three, two-year terms. Attorney Steven M. Peña from Davidson Troilo Ream & Garza -- China Grove’s legal counsel -- said Grant currently is commissioned as a reserve deputy for Bexar County Constable Pct. 4.
According to the official meeting agenda, the council met for almost an hour in closed session with regard to interviewing and appointing a police chief and police officers and to discuss special-use permits for places of worship. When the council met in open session, it voted to hire Grant and took no action on the other items.
Only Ripps, the council, and Peña were present during the closed session. No one else was called in to join them.
“[Grant] is not here tonight,” Ripps said after the meeting. “He submitted his résumé to the city.”
The mayor admitted that there were no other applicants and that the vacancy was not advertised. Peña said the city was not required to advertise the vacancy. (For more, read “Raymond M. ‘Mike’ Grant,” below.)
Ripps said he had spoken with Grant “in detail” about coming to China Grove before and after the council’s Dec. 9, 2013, decision to suspend its entire police force. The department’s former Chief Larry Davis, former Officer Damian Balderas, and former Reserve Officer John Jenkins Jr. signed severance agreements and turned in their uniforms the next day.
Questions still remain over whether the Dec. 9 meeting met the requirements of the Texas Open Meetings Act, as no notice was posted on the city’s website and residents -- including former Mayor Dennis Dunk -- have alleged that a notice never was posted at China Grove City Hall. Furthermore, there were no members of the public -- including the affected officers -- present. Peña since has alleged that an agenda was indeed posted at City Hall and that he was unaware that a notice was not posted online.
Also during the meeting, the council tabled discussion of two business permit requests for 6925 U.S. 87, indicating that Fast Response Rentals and Oil Field Services and Bad Habit BBQ Pits needed to submit site plans.
In other business, the council ordered an election for May 10 for two at-large council seats currently held by Doug Pruski and John McRae. Discussion on whether to also order an election for the seat left open by former Councilman John Massengale was tabled.
Also related to elections, city residents will decide whether a quarter-cent streets-maintenance sales tax will be applied to all goods and services purchased within the city. Funds derived from that tax only will be allowed to finance the repair or replacement of current city streets, in accordance with Chapter 327 of the state’s Tax Code.
If the streets tax is approved, the total sales tax in China Grove would rise to 8 cents, Ripps said.
In attendance: Mayor Eugene Ripps and aldermen Cathy Ripps, Mike Trainor, Doug Pruski, and John McRae; Court Coordinator LaToya Johnson, City Secretary Linda Gill, Fire Chief Mike Winfield, and Attorney Steven M. Peña Sr.
Raymond M. “Mike” Grant
According to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, China Grove’s new police chief began his law-enforcement career as a reserve officer with the Kirby Police Department in 1975. Grant obtained Master Peace Officer certification on June 27, 2013.
Since Oct. 16, 2012, Grant has been a reserve deputy with the Bexar County Pct. 4 Constable’s Office. His previous commission was for 2 years, 2 months as a reserve officer with the China Grove Police Department.
Throughout his career, Grant has had short stints with departments throughout Bexar County. His lengthiest tenure was 7 years, 6 months as a reserve deputy for Bexar County Pct. 3, where he was employed until 2009. Records indicate that Grant never has worked as a police chief.
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William J. Gibbs Jr.
February 19, 2014 11:13am
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February 19, 2014 7:38am
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