Story by Shannon Taylor
MVP Regional Senior Investigative Reporter
Sharon’s regularly-scheduled board meeting held Monday night started off with a bang during citizens’ comments when resident Monica La Rock approached with a petition aimed at removing current mayor Donna Stricklin.
“I think you need to know that there’s a petition going around to have you removed as mayor,” La Rock said. “We’ve got more than enough signatures,” La Rock emphasized as she informed Stricklin about late night calls she and other citizens received from Stricklin, where La Rock said Stricklin was “trying to get complaints about Mark Kimsey.” Kimsey is the former police chief the board voted to terminate over a month ago.
Stricklin told La Rock that she had received a call at city hall that mentioned a concern by La Rock.
“I’m going to tell you that you are bald-faced lying because we never talked to anybody at city hall. We’ve never had a problem with Mark. In fact, out of the last four police chiefs, Mark is the only one that’s done anything for this town.”
La Rock said that she had a problem with drug runners in the city. “And you people don’t care. You could care less,” La Rock said. La Rock claimed during the board meeting that the reason Stricklin didn’t care was due to the fact that Stricklin’s husband was involved in drugs, according to La Rock.
“Your husband frequents the drug houses here and we have pictures to prove it,” La Rock said.
La Rock told Stricklin that Kimsey “ran them out of town and we haven’t seen them again since,” referring to the drug runners and the fact that according to La Rock “none of the other police chiefs were willing to do that.” La Rock said that Kimsey had been the only one to step up and try to get the drugs off the streets and protect the kids.
La Rock said that she had called the governor’s office regarding Stricklin.
“They don’t want to hear your name again. They said they’ve already heard enough about you and they’re wanting to know why, I guess they’ve done their research, why Gary Roberts was mayor and never had a problem and Monroe never had a problem, and we just had our first female mayor who did a fantastic job and then you take office and no one in Sharon’s safe.”
La Rock said that the people needed a police chief they could trust. “You’ve got elderly people terrified because you took away the people that they felt protected them. You’re not helping Sharon; you’re destroying Sharon,” La Rock told Stricklin.
Regarding the petition, La Rock informed Stricklin that it was advised to not give it to her or the board for fear of retaliation by them towards the people who signed it.
“I don’t need to see the petition; you do what you need to do with it,” Stricklin said.
La Rock said, “Well the capital said if you cared about Sharon at all, you would do the decent thing and resign and get somebody in here that cares about Sharon and cares about the people. You’ve got people selling their properties and leaving because you’re mayor.”
Stricklin said, “That’s okay. That’s their choice.” La Rock said that it was not okay for businesses and people to close up and leave due to lack of police protection. “That’s sad for the city of Sharon,” La Rock said.
La Rock told the board that the capital also wanted to know that, when the board made the decision to terminate Kimsey, was the board given proof that complaints were made and able to ask their own questions or did they just take the advice of Stricklin. La Rock told them that she hoped they had because they would be questioned about that.
“You need to have all your information. If you don’t, that’s not only ignorant, it’s dangerous,” La Rock said.
La Rock spoke with The Martin Post after the meeting and said that several people had started a petition to have Stricklin removed and that they should have a better count by Friday.
“We’ll be going to door to door until we have 150 registered voters’ signatures, then it gets sent to the capital and they take it from there,” La Rock said.