Tape In Which Gobble Says Job Was Threatened By Councilman Is Turned Over To East Ridge Officials

Friday, February 22, 2013

A tape in which former East Ridge City Manager Tim Gobble claims his job was threatened by an East Ridge City Council member has been turned over to the city of East Ridge.

Diane Qualls, finance director, said the tape will be transcribed and then submitted to City Attorney Hal North.

She said he would decide if anything on it needs to be redacted before it is released.

Four of five council members held a private session on Feb. 14 with attorney North on the tape issue.

 All the council members were present except for Larry Sewell.

The tape has been the topic of discussion at several council meetings.

At one meeting, Councilman Sewell asked Mr. Gobble if a councilman had threatened his job, and he said one had.

Mr. Gobble recently resigned under duress with three members of the council apparently ready to fire him.

The same three - Marc Gravitt, Jim Bethune and Denny Manning - ousted City Attorney John Anderson the prior month.

Frances Pope, a citizen activist, recently made a Freedom of Information request for the tapes. She was told they were not in the city's possession.

Ms. Pope said Councilman Sewell told her on the phone that he had listened to a tape involving the alleged threat. At a recent council meeting, Councilman Sewell said he had not listened to a tape.

Vice Mayor Bethune said he had asked Mr. Gobble directly about the tape and he told him there was not one.

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