Mayor: City didn't break law in firing police chief

New details in firing of Manning police chief

MANNING, SC (WIS) - Friday night, the Mayor of Manning doubled-down on the city's decision to fire its police chief.

Since the firing, multiple media outlets, some council members, and members of the public have questioned whether or not the termination was done legally.

According to Manning Live, Chief Blair Shaffer was terminated on Wednesday, July 11, after a vote by a city committee. He's been replaced by an interim chief, Keith Grice.

In a press release sent to WIS from Mayor Julia Nelson, the city explains why it didn't violate the law.

The release says, back in June, city council voted two times in two meetings (June 5 and June 18) on an ordinance that would essentially give its three-member public safety committee the authority to hire and fire a chief, which it did a month later.

However, some have claimed that ordinance was not passed properly in compliance with the state's Freedom of Information Act. And if it wasn't passed legally, then the committee fired Shaffer illegally.

"I would like to see somebody - some organization - come in that could set it all straight once and for all according to the law, not the people here in town or what somebody here in town things or whatever," said Ellen McFaddin, who's lived in Manning all her life. "I feel like there's probably a {75% chance} that something has gone wrong somewhere in the last couple of months or so as far as the governing body is concerned."

Even though some in the town hope outsiders will figure out if the town acted correctly, to Mayor Nelson, the case is closed. She feels the law is on her side.

However, she said the city is prepared to deal with any challenge that arises.

Meanwhile, in comments made to Manning Live, the former chief defended his record of reducing crime in Manning and managing the department at a level the Municipal Association thought was exemplary. According to the publication, Shaffer has procured legal representation and will be moving forward with the grievance process.

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