Council votes for investigation of police chief
By Mike Eddleman
The Council voted in favor of continuing an investigation into Liberty Hill Police Chief Maverick Campbell March 1, following more than three and a half hours of deliberation behind closed doors.
When the Council reconvened in open session, Council member Kathy Canady made the motion.
“I would like to make the motion to authorize Becky Wilkins, the HR Director, to continue the investigation into alleged actions by Maverick Campbell Feb. 23 and 24th at a LEAD Conference in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Additionally Maverick Campbell will remain on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation, and at the conclusion of the investigation Becky Wilkins will return results to Council at a future meeting.”
Three Council members voted in favor of the motion – Tony DeYoung, Liz Rundzieher and Canady. Council member Gram Lankford abstained but no reason was given for the abstention. Council member Steve McIntosh was not in attendance at the meeting.
Their was no elaboration on the alleged actions from six days ago which prompted the special meeting Sunday afternoon, and there had been no previous announcement of the administrative leave or investigation.
Once the initial motion was approved, the Council voted unanimously to name LHPD Lt. Royce Graeter as acting Chief of Police during the period of the ongoing investigation. Rundzieher made that motion.
There was no other discussion of the issue from Campbell, his attorney or members of the City Council, and all declined to comment following the meeting.
There was initial confusion when people began arriving regarding the meeting time and intent as about 25 members of the community showed up at 3 p.m. to learn more about the purpose of the meeting.
On the posted agenda, the City said “the Council will gather at 3 p.m., meeting will be open to the public at 3:30 p.m. Mayor Rick Hall announced to those in attendance that the meeting would not be officially opened until 3:30.
Resident Chris Pezold attempted to use the time prior to the official start of the meeting to raise issues with Hall in relation to a story posted on The Independent’s website Friday.
“Right now until 3:30 we can talk amongst our neighbors,” Pezold said, attempting to continue before Hall told him he could not address the entire room.
Pezold persisted, addressing another resident in the audience, Liz Branigan, who is opposing Hall in the May race for Mayor.
“We’re here on a Sunday judging a man and his family and we’ve had Council members watching stuff go on that I just read an article in the paper about and I’ve heard rumors about, that we’ve been watching go on for quite sometime,” Pezold said. “There has been no judgment on that.
The pair continued their exchange a few moments before Pezold raised the idea of trying to remove the Mayor from office.
“One person can go in and file with the district judge, and there’s only three reasons why a mayor can be removed from office and one of them is public drunkenness,” Pezold said. “It is interesting it only takes one to file and they clear the civil court docket and push that to the front, so it is something that can happen quick. Those are my thoughts.”
There was no further public conversation on either the Mayor or Chief Campbell at that point.