The Sanford City Commission rejected Bill Lee’s offer to resign in his post as the city’s police chief, Monday. In a close 3-2 vote, several commissioners argued Lee did not deserve to lose his job, including Sanford’s own mayor Jeff Triplett. The special meeting occurred just hours after George Zimmerman was released from jail after posting bail. NBC Miami reports:
A divided Sanford City Commission voted Monday not to accept the offered resignation of Police Chief Bill Lee Jr., after Commissioners Patty Mahany and Randy Jones repeatedly made the case that Lee did not deserve to lose his job.
City Manager Norton Bonaparte Jr. told the commission that Lee had decided that he can no longer serve as police chief, and that he and Lee agreed he should leave.
Mahany said she was surprised when Bonaparte told her earlier Monday that he was going ahead with Lee’s resignation, referring to his long career in law enforcement and “impeccable” character.
“I am just devastated by this. I wouldn’t want to see this happen to anybody in this room,” she said.
After a discussion that lasted more than an hour, the commission voted not to accept Lee’s resignation.”My question continues to be does he have the capability to be effective in the future, and I think that’s going to come out in a report,” Mayor Jeff Triplett said of Lee moments before the vote.
Lee temporarily stepped down as chief on March 22 and he and his department were strongly criticized for their handling of the Feb. 26 shooting of Miami Gardens teenager Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman, who has since pleaded not guilty.
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