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Controversy Heats Up in Fayetteville

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FAYETTEVILLE — Fayetteville City Council members aredivided over what to do in the midst of racial allegations against thatcity's police department. Monday night was expected to be a busy one incouncil chambers and the outcome of the meeting could be important to thecity.

There is a motion on the table to hire an outside investigator to lookat both the police department and the city manager's office. That motionhas prompted a debate that could include charges of politics and hiddenagendas. In fact, the very role of city council has been questioned.

The controversy started last month when the N.A.A.C.P. charged there isa racially hostile work environment at the police department. The policechief and city manager denied those charges, and a federal agency began aninvestigation.

Two weeks ago, council members voted 5-to-4 to review the personnelfiles of three police officers, but no one has yet done that.

Some suggested that a consultant be brought in to investigate thematter, but the city manager says he will not cooperated with aconsultant and suggested that city council members fire him if they lack confidence in him.

Council member Mark Kendrick says he thinks the council is about tooverstep its authority.

A packed house was expected at the meeting and chairs and televisionsets were set up in the lobby of council chambers so that anyone left outcan observe what's happening.

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