Mayor Says City Justified In Firing "Dancing Park Ranger"

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Mayor Andy Berke said the city was justified in firing the "Dancing Park Ranger," saying he had numerous prior infractions.

Deryl Nelson said he was dismissed after a Girl Scout leader from out of town complained about a dance he performed for her group.

Mayor Berke said, "While the city of Chattanooga respects personal information concerning our employees and refrains from commenting on employee issues as it regards terminations, we have received several questions regarding the termination of employee Deryl Nelson and feel it is necessary to respond.

As stated previously, there were several factors that led to the decision to terminate the employee. This included a history of inappropriate behavior as well as poor job performance.

"Mr. Nelson’s personnel file includes 15 instances of corrective action taken since 2007, including a total of 20 days of suspension for making inappropriate and profane comments to female park visitors and a female employee, as well as negligence while operating a motor vehicle that resulted in two preventable accidents. During this time, Mr. Nelson also received four reprimands for poor job performance and inappropriate conduct, including the solicitation of free food from a local restaurant while on duty and becoming loud and angry after free food was denied.

"The city is committed to providing the most efficient, effective, and courteous service while being responsible with taxpayer dollars; Mr. Nelson’s history of neglecting his job duties and inappropriate comments and conduct are not consistent with this commitment to our citizens.”

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