published Thursday, September 19th, 2013

TBI probe roils Graysville: City recorder relieved of personnel authority

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    Graysville City Recorder Michelle Horton works at her desk in this file photo.

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 or 423-757-6731.

about Alex Green...

Alex Green joined the Times Free Press staff full-time in January 2014 after completing the paper's six-month, general assignment reporter internship. Alex grew up in Dayton, Tenn., which is also where he studied journalism at Bryan College. He graduated from Rhea County High School in 2008. During college, Alex covered the city of Graysville and the town of Spring City for The Herald-News. As editor-in-chief of Bryan College's student news group, Triangle, Alex reported on ...

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