Election For Sallisaw Police Chief Ends In Tie
SALLISAW, Oklahoma -
The saga over the police chief position in Sallisaw continues following nearly a year of controversy.
After the former head of the department resigned over controversial embezzlement claims last year, Tuesday's election to replace him ended in a tie.
According to state election law, the winner will be picked by a drawing later this month.
The Sequoyah County Election Board says retired Sallisaw Police Capt. Terry Franklin and current Sallisaw Police Lt. Sandy Girdner each received 837 votes.
Election board secretary Cindy Osburn said the board will meet Friday to certify the election results, and under Oklahoma state election law, will set a special meeting date where a drawing will be held.
Sallisaw officials said in a statement Wednesday that the city attorney has interpreted the city charter to say there will be a runoff election, not a drawing.
Osburn said that a city's charter trumps state election law.
The two parties will confer for a final determination, the city said.
State election officials cite state law [Title 26; Section 8-105]:
"The secretary of the appropriate election board shall, in full view of those present at the meeting, clearly write or print the name of each tied candidate on separate pieces of paper measuring approximately equal size. The names of the candidates shall be written or printed on the same color and type of paper. The papers shall be folded in half one time so that the written names are not visible and shall be placed into a container selected by the secretary of the appropriate election board. The secretary shall draw, or may designate a person other than the candidates, witnesses or other person directly interested in the election to draw, one paper, and the name of the nominee or electee appearing on the first drawn paper shall be declared the winner."
The position opened up in November 2013 when former police chief Shaloa Edwards resigned after admitting to borrowing $60 in petty cash from the police department for a few small purchases like lunch.
The city manager said Edwards paid the money back, and despite support from the public, a warrant was issued for Edwards' arrest. The city council stripped his supervisory powers, which angered citizens and a state representative who said the council abused its powers by bypassing the voters who put him in office.
Edwards pleaded not guilty to embezzlement of public money last year and charges were dismissed in November.
He served as police chief for eight years.