A tiny town in South Carolina has given its fired police chief a chance to get her job back two months after the chief and her supporters said she was dismissed because she's a lesbian.
But Bullard threw up a roadblock Wednesday morning, announcing in a news release that he had signed a man in nearby Florence, S.C., to a two-year contract as Latta's police chief, effective July 1.
Moore said Wednesday that she was "ecstatic and ready to go back to work" after the vote Tuesday night. But after she heard Wednesday morning about the mayor's new hire, she said, "I was just crushed, frustrated, angry, about ready to cry.''
"Nobody knew anything about it,'' Taylor said. "He didn't inform the council or the police department.''
"We can't dwell on what happened in the past,'' Bullard told the station. "We need someone permanently with enough leadership and experience and capabilities to continue to bring this town forward.''
Some voters celebrated downtown Tuesday night after results were announced, Brown said, but Moore's supporters were bewildered Wednesday. The council cannot take action until Tuesday's vote is certified by a county elections board, either Thursday or Friday, Taylor said.
The mayor also has a vote, but Taylor said the six-member council is unanimous in wanting to hire Moore back under a new form of government.
The mayor, who was recorded making homophobic statements in March, has said he fired Moore because she failed to maintain order and questioned authority. Moore denied that, saying she had a spotless record as police chief.
"I would much rather have – and I will say this to anybody's face – somebody who drank and drank too much taking care of my child than I had somebody whose lifestyle is questionable,'' the mayor said on the tape.
He added: "I'm not going to let two women stand up there and hold hands and let my child be aware of it.''
Wil Brown, who said his website Stand With Chief Crystal Moore has raised nearly $6,000 for Moore along with an additional $1,000 in mail donations, called the mayor's hire "the last gasp of a petty man.''
The reaction to Moore's firing demonstrated how swiftly attitudes toward gays are shifting, even in a rock-solid Republican town in the Bible Belt South.