At his stormy opening meeting, a new Soddy Daisy Commissioner made a number of allegations about conduct of city officials and then got the longtime city manager fired.
Newly elected Commissioner Steve Everett made a motion to terminate Janice Cagle, then Gene Shipley and Rick Nunley went along.
Burt Johnson, the current finance director and recorder, moves into the post.
In the November elections, long time mayor and commissioner Shipley was re-elected, along with Jim Coleman, who was a past fire chief for the city, and Mr. Everett, who has 15 years of law enforcement experience. Each were each sworn in as newly elected Soddy Daisy commissioners at a meeting Thursday night. The board then elected Rick Nunley to serve as the new mayor and Mr. Cothran as vice mayor.
After thanking the other candidates for running a campaign without belittling each other, Commissioner Everett said he had run to instill integrity in the city, then wasted no time in trying to clear up an incident that started last summer. He began by playing the recording of a conversation and followed by reading a transcript of the recording which was a conversation between two police officers and City Manager Cagle, which he alleged were discussing a way to drive the price down on a land purchase to encourage its sale. The property involved was a trailer park on the north end of Soddy Daisy that was in disrepair and was alleged to have drug activity.
Commissioner Everett claimed that the tape had been heard by some of the commissioners who had chosen to do nothing. He said nine officers had been sent to the trailer park on one occasion to enforce code violations, which he said was an excessive number. Ms. Cagle said she had no interest in the price of the property, but she only wanted the property to be cleaned up. City Attorney Sam Elliott said, at the time he became aware of the tape, he had asked if there had been stepped up law enforcement directed to the trailer park and had been told no.
Commissioner Everett also contended that two police officers which are currently involved in lawsuits affecting the city, had not been through a thorough background check or problems would have been caught before they had been hired. He also said that the city could be sued if it was grossly negligent in managing people correctly.
The city manager is responsible for conducting the city’s day to day operations, including controlling personnel issues, said Attorney Elliott. But a motion by Commissioner Shipley that passed unanimously, made the decision not to hire a police officer that the city manager had been considering.
“We have a responsibility to oversee the person who is overseeing our day-to-day business,” said Commissioner Everett, before he made a motion to terminate the city manager that was seconded by Commissioner Shipley. The motion passed with Commissioners Everett and Shipley and Mayor Nunley voting yes and Vice Mayor Cothran and Commissioner Coleman voting in opposition.
Ms. Cagle is a former mayor of Soddy Daisy.