Springfield Swears in a Mayor, Two Commissioners, Rehires Police Chief

With the swearing-in of Mayor Robert Walker, Commissioners Jimmy Talley and John Gipson, the Springfield City Commission was ready Tuesday night to reverse the way the prior board did business.

First, commissioners voted unanimously to reinstate Interim Police Chief David Barnes.

Barnes was suspended and then fired by Interim Mayor Gene Stockwell. Stockwell and former commissioners say Barnes refused to carry out city orders to suspend a Springfield police officer involved in a traffic case which resulted in a hit and run death.
Barnes says he's looking forward to working for the city once more.

“Everybody's been real supportive. It could have been rough, but it didn't occur that way. I had the Police Department's support."

Commissioners also plan to reevaluate the mayor's power to fire city employees. Employees, like police chief, are elected by the commission and some say it shouldn't be so easy for the mayor to just fire whomever he wants.