(KATV) The Bauxite Treasurer has turned in her resignation, effective immediately. The only reason she gave is that a resident is harassing her and she is scared. But some citizens say for Bauxite, it is not unusual. The last treasurer also quit for the same reason.
Some council members tell Channel Seven they have been too afraid to file a police report, they feel it is their word against the offender. The mayor says he feels helpless.
In a town of less than 500, Mayor Johnny McMahan says it is already difficult enough to find qualified citizens who want to be on the city council. "I am trying to keep our town afloat and we have people out there trying to put holes in the boat and sink us."
He is referring to Deborah Purifoy, a former member, defeated by more than 70-percent of voters in 2010. That year, she was arrested for allegedly assaulting a Bauxite officer.
Residents and council members say she has not let up since. She is reportedly confrontational at the city council meetings with her video camera rolling. "I think she has it out for city officials, mayor, police chief, anybody associated with Bauxite."
Sheryl Johnson told Channel Seven by phone that Purifoy corners council members cussing, yelling and pointing her finger in their faces. She says Purifoy receives the public city documents she request but then corners you to get your opinion.
Johnson says the last time Purifoy followed her and verbally attacked her was at the Valero gas station on November 1st. Deborah Purifoy allegedly screamed, "You work for me" and "I'm going to continue to bother you and every council member until I get what I want."
Bryant police tell Channel Seven they do not have anything to charge Purifoy with. They told Johnson she can contact the Prosecutors office directly.
The next day, Purifoy allegedly went after another council member, who did not call police.
Johnson says she turned in her resignation, out of fear. Mayor McMahan adds, "I wish she would leave us alone so we can keep our town together and try to make some progress."
Deborah Purifoy did not return Channel Seven's calls.
Deborah Purifoy's Response:
Deborah called Channel Seven after the story aired on November 13. She alleges she is being harassed by city council members and the Bauxite Mayor is behind it.
She says, "Sheryl Johnson is not qualified for public office if she is going to tell vicious lies. If she is so afraid of me, why did she sit next to me on November 4th, days after the incident she reported to police."
Deborah says allegations that she has followed Johnson on numerous occasions in the past three weeks are false. On November 1, she claims they happened to be pumping gas at the same time and she went and asked Johnson why she will not answer her emails. She adds, "What is wrong with asking to see city documents? They make it difficult."
When asked if she screams and yells at council member, Deborah replied, "Sometimes I talk loud to be heard."
Deborah reportedly contacted her attorney after the Channel Seven story aired. She says, "I would like city council members take a polygraph. They are not being truthful, it is hurtful and I am in shock."