published Thursday, September 19th, 2013

TBI probe roils Graysville: City recorder relieved of personnel authority

GRAYSVILLE, Tenn. -- In the midst of a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation probe into the Graysville Police Department, city residents are asking for answers and city officials are asking for patience, even as things become tense at City Hall, which was locked two days this week.

"We don't have an option," Mayor Ted Doss said Wednesday evening. "We just have to wait on the TBI."

That was after a crowd attended a special meeting Wednesday, expecting answers to questions about Chief of Police Erik Redden, Officer Shawn Shelton and City Recorder Michelle Horton. They got some answers from Horton herself.

She left a closed-door executive session with commissioners and City Attorney Carol Ann Baron at the city building and told residents outside that city commissioners decided to remove her ability to make personnel decisions like firing, hiring, granting leave and handing down suspensions.

"I think this is a burden that has been lifted," Horton said.

She said the suspensions of Redden and Shelton last month are only part of the investigation.

Doss said he is "disappointed with the citizens jumping to conclusions."

Graysville residents, though, say they have been waiting and want answers. They said removing some of Horton's authority at the city is a start.

"I just think everybody needs a boss. She didn't have a boss," Darlene Hickman said.

Hickman's sister, Vice Mayor Nesa Reel, said after the executive session that removing Horton's personnel authority is "for the good of the community."

"It puts power in the hands of the board, where it should be," she said.

Doss said City Hall will not be locked again, but he is still waiting on the TBI to give answers about the police.

"We've entrusted this to the TBI to find truth in it," he said. "We have to wait on their final papers."

Contact staff writer Alex Green at agreen@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6731.

about Alex Green...

Alex joined the Times Free Press staff full-time in January 2014 as a region business reporter. He is a native of Dayton, Tenn., located 35 miles north of Chattanooga, and he is a fifth-generation Dayton native. Alex came to the Times Free Press as an editorial intern in July 2013. He was previously a correspondent at The Herald-News, located in Dayton, through college and editor-in-chief of the Triangle, Bryan College's student-led media group. Alex was ...

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