Valley Mayor Struggles to Move City Forward

VALLEY, Al. (WTVM) - The city of Valley is working to move forward after Monday night's council meeting that left two of the cities' highest offices, city manager and police chief, vacant.  News Leader 9 first told you how the city council decided to end the police chief's and city manager's contracts Monday night. The vacancies have the mayor in a difficult position.

Valley Resident James Brooks was upset when a split vote by Valley City Council members ended Valley City Administrator, Tim Bryan's, contract.

"it should have been handled better," said Brooks.

Bryan has worked for the city of 8 years, first as police chief then as city manager.

"Tim's done a lot of good stuff for this place. I've known him for a while he came in early and worked late," said Brooks.

In an email to News Leader 9, Mayor Leak says it'll be difficult to move on. The email is detailed below.

I am working in the most important areas first - upcoming events like "Valley Day on the River", which is Friday night with Cole Ford and Saturday at the Barbeque Cookoff, etc. I have also requested state help to analyze and make recommendations on improving and rebuilding our police department. This will include a review of some pending disciplinary actions as well as developing a stepped plan of moving onward from where we find ourselves.

Today, I am talking to the public via local TV and radio. This will continue for a while. We are considering holding a number of public hearings to see if the city is headed in the right directions with all of our plans and visions. If public doesn't agree with the current priorities, we'll have to change our plans. My philosophy in holding hearings is "when you don't know where to go or what to do next, call the community together and let them tell you what they want". This will tell us whether or not the council's plans are in line with the community's willingness to support them.

In the meantime, I have to discover the many, many details that City Administrator, Tim Bryan, was handling that were suddenly dropped into my lap. That will be a hard thing to do. Tim was the best municipal manager I have ever known. As a part time mayor, picking up behind Tim Bryan is the biggest challenge I have ever faced while serving in elected office.

Monday night, the council also voted unanimously not to renew Valley Police Chief Michael Taylor's contract. Residents we spoke with said, that wasn't a big surprise, considering Taylor had been on administrative leave since two claims were filed against the city alleging inappropriate handing of juvenile matters by police.

Mayor Leak has since named an interim chief, and requested help from the state in improving and rebuilding the police department.

"Valley was here before they were and it will be here tomorrow. But they should have left well enough alone," said Brooks.

We left messages with the former city manager, Tim Bryan and police chief, Michael Taylor. As of late Tuesday afternoon, we were still waiting on a call back.