South Pittsburg demotes Chief of Police under cloud of secrecy

Stock Photo Marion County News Brenda Roth and Ryan Meeks

The South Pittsburg Board of Mayor and Commissioners acted on a recommendation by City Administrator Gene Vess to demote Chief of Police Ryan Meeks to night sergeant. The board acquiesced to Vess’ recommendation unanimously. When pressed later in the meeting, Vess stated that personnel decisions required consultation with the city attorney before a public statement was made.

During the inquiry, the city attorney, Billy Gouger, acknowledged that he was unaware of the circumstances leading to the vote. Mayor Virgil Holder said that he, too, was not fully aware of the circumstances leading to the vote. This despite voting to demote Meeks.

Lieutenant Brenda Roth was made acting Chief of Police pending the city posting and receiving applications for a new chief. Roth stated unequivocally that she did not want the position in a conversation subsequent to the meeting.

We’ll continue to follow up on the story as facts become available.