Leaders of small Missouri town resign after new, black mayor is sworn in

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PARMA, Mo. — Six city employees in the town of Parma, Mo., resigned their posts just days after the city’s first black mayor was sworn in.

The St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that six of 11 employees, including the police chief, assistant police chief, two reserve police officers, the city clerk and water department supervisor resigned over reservations about Tyus Byrd.

Byrd won the election to lead the town of 700. She ran against the former mayor, Randall Ramsey, 78, who has led the town on and off since 1962.

Byrd, 40, is a stay-at-home mom who grew up in Parma. About a month before the election, a teenage relative of Byrd’s was Tasered by a white Parma police officer. The St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that the incident originated over prank phone calls made to the police department.

A few weeks later, on election day, more people than normal turned out to cast their vote. The Dispatch says it was about double the turnout, with 122 people voting for Byrd, while the former mayor received 84 votes.

Read the complete report in the Dispatch, in which the former mayor explains some of Byrd’s questions about accounting during his tenure. Some city employees used city money to purchase personal items and then paid the city back.

“In my mind, I considered it a benefit of the job,” Ramsey said. He said city employees did not have benefits and that wages were low.

The assistant police chief told the Post-Dispatch that some did not expect to be able to keep and do their jobs.

“I never said anything about cleaning house,” Byrd told the newspaper.

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