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Whitwell City Manager on administrative leave after Monday night meeting

Whitwell City Hall was crowded in near standing room only status on Monday night as the residents came wanting answers to why the city’s police chief, Kenneth Seagraves, allegedly quit late last week. Some came to show their lack of support for city manager, Todd Mistrot, wearing shirts and holding signs showing their frustration and demanding his removal from the position in light of speculation around recent events.

Seagraves is said to have had a heated meeting with Mistrot over the lack of personnel for the police department on Thursday, and the tension stems from that meeting, sources say.

While much speculation over the events has been made by citizens and city officials over the past few days, the one concern on the minds of everyone in the city is their police protection. Commissioners said at the meeting that the city has hired one full-time officer to add to the police department’s eight-man staff. However, some officers have stated they will not work until Seagraves returns to the police chief position.

In the interim, Marion County Sheriff’s deputies have been helping patrol the city. Commissioner Terry Parker says deputies have responded to city calls, working nearly 18 hours over the weekend alone.

Residents who had signed up in advance to speak or comment at the meeting gave their feelings on the issues. The majority of those speaking were against Mistrot while others did show support for the city manager.

The meeting continued to stay quite heated with Commissioner Parker making a making a motion to “fire” the city manager, and even threatening to resign from his position at one point before deciding otherwise. Mayor Linda Hooper said the board has not gone through what they can and cannot legally do at this time, and that they need to review that.

Parker eventually made a motion to put Mistrot on administrative leave, with only one commissioner (Sandra Crabtree) voting against.

The board will hold a closed-door executive session regarding Mistrot’s leave and the incident between Mistrot and Seagraves with the city’s attorneys next Monday. Stay with MarionCountyMessenger.com for the latest…

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