Florence – Long time Chief Of Police, Rick Singleton announced today that he is retiring from the Force and will be a candidate for Mayor of the City. He has been in and around Law Enforcement in Florence/Lauderdale since 1972, and has been a member of the Police Department continuously since 1980.
Mr. Singleton said that he had not planned to retire for another couple of years, but when he heard that Mayor Bobby Irons was leaving his post after two terms, he decided to retire from the force now to run elected office.
The Chief told Police Officers and friends who were gathered in the roll call room that he thought of everyone in the Department like family. He said he worries about his officers and their loved ones daily, “It’s been stressful at times”.Retirement officially begins June 29, 2012. A week later Mr. Singleton will qualify for the August election.
The Chief said that this occasion was not for political speeches, however he felt it was important to touch on the City Council impasse with respect to the festering landfill issue. He said that if the City had seven voting Council Members instead of six, this situation would be non-existent. He said that he would work to resolve problems like this by adding to the Council a seventh voting member; Council President. The Council President would be elected at-large, and would be able to vote on all issues before the body. When asked if he thought that electing an at-large Council Member would be legal in light of settled law dealing with Minority representation, Mr. Singleton said that all aspects of such an elected position would be thoroughly investigated.
Mr. Singleton told The Quad-Cities Daily that upon his election, another City policy would be immediately changed. He said that blocking the media from direct access to City department heads, as is now the case, would be done away with his first day in office. He said that members of the press should be able to garner information from any manager or employee within the City. He said the policy as it stands today is simply the wrong way to conduct media relations. Today, if there is a news-related question with Florence, reporters must get their information from Phil Stevenson, a Florence City department head, who also wears the hat of Media Relations Director. That position was created about two years ago by the Mayor’s Office when some people in City government felt it was too difficult to keep tabs on what their employees were telling the media about City issues.