PRICHARD, Ala. (WPMI) - Prichard’s new mayor says he did not fire the police chief because the top cop wanted to investigate him.
Former Police Chief Jimmie Gardner told Local 15 he thinks he was terminated as retaliation for pursuing an ethics violation investigation into Mayor Troy Ephriam. The violation concerned Ephriam allegedly using city money to buy gas for his personal vehicle.
“Those facts were completely misconstrued and the information was completely inaccurate about that,” Ephriam told Local 15.
The mayor said Gardner was terminated because his contract had come to an end in December, and the mayor wanted to move “in a new direction”. Ephriam had expressed frustration when the outgoing Mayor Ron Davis and lame duck council members attempted to approve a five-year contract for Gardner, rather than let Ephriam appoint someone new.
When Local 15 asked if there was any truth to the ethics allegations, Ephriam responded, “Not at all.”
Ephriam said he does not have a city-issued gas card, though it’s unclear if that’s how the gasoline was allegedly purchased.
Ephriam said it’s time to put the police chief’s termination behind and move forward.
“We’re beyond that,” Ephriam said. “We have a lot more important issues.”