By: Carson Blake
Newly elected Mayor Richard Sullivan, Alderman Bryan Bradford, Alderwomen Melissa Ole, and reelected Alderman Rick Lewis were sworn into office Tuesday June 16, 2020. The Board of Alderman finally took their seats after the April election was pushed back due to Covid-19.
The City of Ashland is categorized as a fourth class city, in which the Mayor makes appointments such as the positions of City Clerk, City Attorney, City Prosector, committee liaisons, and the Chief of Police.
Before Mayor Sullivan made his new appointments, former Police Cheif Lyn Woolford gave a statement to the newly seated Board of Alderman requesting to be reappointed after he was placed on administrative leave in February 2020.
“I did not want to file a suit, but I love my job and I am willing to fight for it and my reputation” said Woolford. “In February of this year, I was verbally placed on administrative leave. I was accused of mishandling paperwork in regard to a police internal affairs investigation. The accusations against me are untrue, and I’ve covered up nothing…”
Mayor Richard Sullivan made the appointment of Sgt. Gabe Edwards as Chief of Police.
The Board of Alderman approved the appointment 5-1, Ward 1 Alderman Bryan Bradford voted no.
Edwards accepted the appointment.
“I have some big shoes to fill from Chief Woolford, but I look forward to working with the community and continuing the legacy he build with the department. At least for the next 10 months for when the City of Ashland decides what direction they want to move with a Police Chief, whether it be me or someone else” said Chief Gabe Edwards.
Edwards has been with the City of Ashland since 2017 and has 20 years of police experience.
Other appointments include Leslie Martin Mayor pro tem, Darla Sapp City Clerk, and City Attorney and Prosector Jeff Kays. All appoi ntments are designated annually, will be completed in April 2021.
- The City of Ashland is looking to restructure Alderman meetings and add public comments that are submitted the Wednesday before an Alderman meeting to be presented before the vote of an issue.
- The concrete is poured at the recycling lot and a bid from Robinson Fence Company out of Springfield, Mo., was awarded for $11,200 with the work to be completed within 36 working days. “Recycling should be completed by mid to late July” said Public Works director James Creel.
- Mayor Sullivan is working to to build a stronger relationship between the Optimist Club and the City. “I want to appoint a committee representation from the Optimist, the City, Parks, and the YMCA” said Sullivan. It is estimated that the Optimist Pool will be a $10,000 shortfall due to Covid-19, and is asking the City of Ashland for assistance.