On Feb. 3, the city of Clever observed the 110th anniversary of its incorporation, according to the Christian County Historical Society. Present day actions coinciding with this birthday could alter Clever’s course for the next 11 decades.
Clever Police Chief Darren Whisnant’s last day of the job is set for Feb. 15. He resigns amidst turmoil and controversy, citing broken promises and disagreements with other officials.
Whisnant leaves after just one year at the helm of the Clever Police Department, having won heavy favor with the public for the manner in which the police improved under his leadership.
Clever could go several directions from here. On one end, citizens and elected officials could use Whisnant’s resignation as the catalyst for finger pointing, blaming and pointed rhetoric alongside disorderly conduct.
Whisnant’s resignation could also be the opportunity for the citizens of Clever to learn more about how their city government works, how to examine the city’s budget, how to give their aldermen constructive input and how to effectively plan for the future.
What we will likely see will be a path somewhere in the middle. There will be constructive thought into making Clever’s police department and its budgeting process better, but it might be tense and messy at times.
“I really hope this kind of wakes them up, and that actions change, beliefs and stuff change,” Whisnant said.
Whisnant’s resignation spurred some Clever residents to take interest in the board of aldermen’s upcoming budget session on Feb. 12. It should be a well-attended event in the town of about 2,600 people. Undoubtedly, people will be interested in the decisions that the aldermen make, but attending one board of aldermen meeting won’t make anyone an expert on city government or on the process of drafting a municipal budget.
In an era of instant gratification, city government sometimes moves along at a tortoise’s pace. In addition to a civics lesson, some lessons on patience are forthcoming.
When asked, Whisnant offered some advice for whomever is hired as Clever’s next police chief.
“My advice would be to really keep the community’s needs at the forefront and to really watch the internal actions of some within the city government to ensure that laws, rules and regulations are not violated,” Whisnant said.
That’s good advice for an incoming law enforcement leader, but also good advice for anyone who cares about Clever.