City manager and mayor react to call for Burton resignation

Columbia City Manager Mike Matthes said not all members of the Columbia Police Department are calling for Chief Ken Burtonâ??s resignation.

Matthes said heâ??s troubled because several officers told him they never saw the Columbia Fraternal Order of Police resignation request letter before it was made public.

Matthes said he hasnâ??t read the entire letter. Matthes said the publicâ??s reaction to the letter is a 100% support for Burton.

Matthes said, â??I know the Fraternal Order believes that if they use the press to try to pressure me to fire the chief, then the community will come out and support them. What I hear from the community is theyâ??re embarrassed by the actions of the F.O.P. and they are, quite frankly, upset with them for making our police department and our officers look petty and vicious.â??

Columbia Mayor Bob McDavid does not have the power to fire Chief Burton, but says a consultantâ??s recommendations shows the police department needs some change. A recent survey shows the publicâ??s satisfaction with the Columbia Police Department is below the national average.

McDavid said, â??We need to see a much higher level of citizen satisfaction with the police department. We need to see a much higher employee engagement, and number three we need to see lower crime rates. Thatâ??s the mandate we are giving to the city manager.â??

Matthes plans to read the F.O.P.â??s entire letter recommending Burtonâ??s resignation over the next month. He said there are other things that he has to do that take a higher priority. Matthes said heâ??ll eventually give the letter a fair read and try to address their concerns.