Newbern police chief suspended amid employee complaints

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NEWBERN, Tenn. — The police chief of Newbern was placed on paid suspension Monday after additional hostile work complaints were reported, according to the Mayor. Police Chief Doug Robertson was placed on a 10-day paid suspension in April over hostile work environment complaints. Two months later, city leaders say they have received five more complaints to add to the list. Mayor Olen Parker released a letter that stated the course of action the city would take into these new allegations. “He had never been advised of any of these problems or alleged problems prior to this meeting on Monday,” said Michael Weinman, Robertson’s attorney. Complaints by employees against Robertson include creating a stressful environment, undermining supervisors and ignoring concerns brought to him by employees about their work environment. “He doesn’t believe he has created a hostile work environment for any of the employees that work for him,” Weinman said.

Weinman said during Monday’s meeting they were told the chief was being terminated or could resign if he signs a release saying he will not pursue legal action. Weinman said they did not take the offer. According to the letter from Mayor Parker to the chief, the two sides plan to meet in a couple of weeks. “I will refrain from further action in connection with your employment pending a pre-termination hearing with you,” states Parker in the letter. According to the mayor, this two-week paid suspension is to give the chief time to prepare for his pending hearing. “These are the people that we’re supposed to trust with our city, families and ourselves,” resident Leigh England said. The hearing is tentatively set for June 19.

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