Police Stay Unless Everyone on Council Says “Go”

Gulfport city council voted a second and final time that the city cannot outsource its police department without a 5-0 vote of the council to do so.

Councilwoman Barbara Banno, who initially favored keeping the vote with city council rather than allow a voter referendum, said she “would rather see it go to referendum” than make the council vote unanimously to outsource its police department.

The ordinance will not only require a 5-0 vote to remove the city police department, it requires a 5-0 vote to change the ordinance should the council, for example, want to send the issue to a voter referendum or make the police a chartered department.

Councilwoman Banno said she wanted the city change it so it didn’t require a unanimous vote to change the ordinance.

The council, apart from Councilwoman Banno, approved of the need for the unanimous vote, both to outsource the police and also to change the ordinance

By allowing a lessor vote to change the ordinance, “you’re writing ordinances to overturn ordinances,” Councilwoman Jennifer Salmon said.

Councilwoman Banno asked to change the ordinance to require a voter referendum to outsource the police.

“I do believe in participatory government, but if we put all hard decisions out for a vote, you don’t really get the decision that’s best the city,” Councilwoman Salmon said. “I’m very comfortable with [a 5-0 vote].”

“This ordinance really handcuffs this city,” Councilwoman Banno said. “This is an injustice to you [the citizens].”

“This is the farthest thing from an injustice to the citizens of Gulfport,” Councilman Dan Liedtke told her.

 The council voted a second and final time to require a unanimous vote. Only Councilwoman Banno voted against.