Tyus Byrd was sworn in as mayor of Parma, Mo., on Tuesday, shortly after five of the city’s six cops and other government officials resigned. (KFVS)
Tyus Byrd was sworn in as mayor of Parma, Mo., last Tuesday, shortly after five of the city’s six cops and other government officials resigned. (KFVS)

Parma, MO (St. Louis Post-Dispatch) – The drugstore is long gone. So, too, are the bank and the barbershop, the opry house and the hardware store.

All that is left of downtown are collapsed awnings, caved-in ceilings and broken windowpanes of century-old buildings.

And now that the city of Parma has elected its first black mayor, the town of about 700 residents is suffering another kind of abandonment: Six of its 11 employees — including the police chief, city clerk and water department supervisor — have resigned.

“I don’t understand,” said Tyus Byrd, who was sworn in as mayor a week ago. “I never said anything about cleaning house.”

People here cite a variety of reasons for the departures. Hurt feelings. Worries about being fired. Loyalty to the former mayor, who had been in power for much of the past half-century.

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