In this morning’s city council meeting, Councilman Weston Lindemann proposed to launch an investigation into CAO Richie McAlister. However, the council will, instead, discuss this in a work session next week. “So, I’m going to try to have as detailed of a proposal as I can that will outline the process in every way. It sounds to me like the council as a whole wants to narrow the scope of the investigation and maybe focus first on employees, but I would also like to add that we rescind the municipal code that established the position of CAO for the duration of that investigation,” said Lindemann. He also proposes removing McAlister from his position during the investigation, should it take place.
Council President Tyrone Johnson believes it would not be fair to McAlister if he is the only city employee targeted in this proposed investigation. “I’m more in favor of investigating city employees as a whole. I know there are other issues that should be made aware of other than Mr. McAlister. So, to help build the morale of some of the city employees, we do want to hear what they have to say,” said Johnson.
“You hear about all these things, but if given the opportunity for them to come in front of everybody, knowing they have protection that their job will not be threatened, they will not be fired, or any of those repercussions we hear comes when people try to come forward,” said Councilwoman Kim Houston. “I think in all fairness; we need to make sure we give that platform for our employees to come forward.”
Those on the council in favor of an investigation want to make it easier for employees to come forward. “Some employees do not feel comfortable with going to their immediate supervisors, and I know we have to use the chain of command, but some of them don’t believe in that system. So, we the council, if it comes to that, we want to hear those concerns so we can address that as a council," said Johnson.
Mayor Percy Bland says it’s time to move forward and that this discussion is hindering the city in moving forward and focusing on what he says are more important issues. Lindemann says that should the investigation go through and nothing is found, the council could then discuss back pay for McAlister. The next work session will be next Tuesday, May 14th, at 9 a.m. at city hall.