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Woman claims director 'volatile' - MJ public works leader placed on administrative leave
Apr 19, 2006 12:00 am
April 15, 2006 A Mt. Juliet city department head has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the results of an internal investigation into a harassment complaint filed Monday by a city employee, Mt. Juliet City Manager Rob Shearer confirmed Friday.
Public Works Director Hatton Wright was placed on leave after Stormwater Clerk Sandra Dempsey filed a written complaint to the city's personnel department stating Wright's "unethical conduct … irrational and volatile behavior" made her "concerned" for her safety.
In the eight-page, hand-delivered complaint, distributed Monday to Shearer, Mayor Linda Elam and all five city commissioners, the three-year employee claims she cannot accept the "continued harassment and conditions that are being forced on me in my workplace by Mr. Wright."
"We take any complaints on harassment seriously and have started an internal investigation, and Mr. Wright has been place on administrative leave with pay pending the results of the investigation," Shearer said.
District 3 Commissioner Ed Hagerty said he too is "concerned" by the allegations against Wright, who has held the top public works position since 2000.
"I'm interested in the city manager's response," he said. "It is appropriate the first step is an investigation and I hope it goes quickly … There is very much concern on my part."
Mt. Juliet Police Lt. Michael Mullins confirmed Thursday he had been assigned by the city manger to conduct an internal investigation but would not make any comments. He said he hoped to complete the investigation in two weeks.
District 1 Commissioner Ray Justice said he was aware of the investigation, but would not make any comments that would jeopardize the investigation.
"The City of Mt. Juliet takes all allegations seriously enough to conduct an investigation," Justice said. "I do know the past proves the city will follow through on such allegations."
Mt. Juliet Managing Editor Laurie Everett can be reached at 754-6397 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.