Parma, Missouri, (pop 700) has a new mayor! Suddenly, though, they are without a police department and several other key officials:

Voters in Parma, Missouri voted in their first African-American female mayor.

Tyrus Byrd will be sworn in as mayor on Tuesday evening, April 14, at the Parma Community Building.

According to Mayor Randall Ramsey, five out of six police officers resigned this week, effectively immediately.

Mayor Ramsey said the city’s attorney, the clerk and the waste water treatment plant supervisor also turned in resignation letters citing “safety concerns.”

This is being portrayed as largely a racism or racism/sexism issue. I find myself thinking that there is more to it than that. The first thing is that… a town of 700 people has six officers? Really? Why? Even residents of Parma don’t seem to know:

Some say they’re not worried about their safety and it wasn’t necessary to have that many on staff for a city the size of Parma.

Some say they’re relieved about the situation and that Parma doesn’t have that many problems in town to require so many officers.

“I think it was pretty dirty the way they all quit without giving her a chance, but I don’t think they hurt the town with quitting because who needs six police for 740 people?” said Martha Miller of Parma.

Then there were the other officials. The city’s computers were apparently wiped on exit.

This doesn’t sound like run-of-the-mill racism (though it could be that in part – it often is with good ole boy networks). This sounds like corruption. The king is gone, so the kingsmen are heading for the hills either because the gang is up or to create a crisis to put the king back in power (at the next election – this metaphor has limitations). There is a good chance at least some of these people were getting paid to do very little, and since the gig was up, they were going to move on one way or another and this allowed them to do it on their own terms.

Category: Newsroom

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2 Responses to Moon Over Parma

  1. fillyjonk says:

    Seems to me a city council, or police force, or whatever, quitting en masse seems not to be an uncommon thing in small towns; there are a few small places around here where it’s happened.

    In one case I think it was over some city official who was being “investigated.” There was also a case of a small city (bigger than Parma but still small) having to rely solely on the county sheriff for some months.

    Of course I know very little about these cases, only what I hear on the evening news, but it seems that it’s the result of an outbreak of pique in some cases. Small-city bureacrats and others seem really good at getting huffy over stuff.

  2. trumwill says:

    It seems to happen in particular when there is a “local machine” in place, and when said local machine gets displaced. This is sort of why corruption came to mind when I read about the article.

    I actually kind of question why towns of less then 4-5000 have police departments at all. At least, back home, it’s not uncommon to either contract with another town’s department or a sheriff or constable’s office.

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