The contract of Quartzsite Police Chief Jeff Gilbert, for years the subject of attention while clashing with a faction of town residents who opposed him, was terminated Tuesday by the Quartzsite Town Council.
At the regularly scheduled council meeting, members convened in an Executive Session to discuss Gilbert’s contract. They reconvened in public session and voted to terminate his contract without cause, and pay the provisions of his severance. The vote was unanimous, with the Vice Mayor abstaining.
Gilbert had been the center of controversy in Quartzsite for some time, with some residents accusing him of targeting them with politically motivated arrests. The situation spiralled when Jennifer Jones, a local newspaper publisher, was removed from a council meeting by Gilbert. The video of the event was seen thousands of times on YouTube, bringing national press coverage to the town and attention on Chief Gilbert. The resulting furor even prompted a protest rally organized by a Constitution-centered organization called Oath Keepers, with the town’s mayor Ed Foster leading the march.
In September 2012, then Assistant Town Manager Al Johnson fired Gilbert by certified letter without the knowledge of the council, for “gross negligence and willful misconduct”. Gilbert was later reinstated and Johnson fired instead for his “inappropriate” actions.
Although several investigations were reported or conducted, Gilbert maintained that he was not abusing his power. His supporters say he was being attacked by a trouble-making faction of town residents led by Foster and Jones, whose relationship with Gilbert was characterized by frequent clashes and testy exchanges.
There is no word of a replacement or Interim Chief. To read Parker Live’s coverage of Quartzsite news involving Chief Gilbert, click HERE.