published Thursday, March 1st, 2012

Former East Ridge recorder Janet Middleton placed on year's probation

  • photo
    East Ridge City Recorder Janet Middleton attends a city council meeting in this file photo.
    Staff File Photo/Chattanooga Times Free Press

East Ridge's former city recorder is now under court-ordered probation and has been reassigned to a new city department following her arrest on domestic assault and trespassing charges.

Janet Middleton was arrested after East Ridge police say she showed up at the apartment of her husband's female friend in the early hours of Feb. 2, yelling and trying to force herself into the residence.

According to an agreement reached Tuesday night in East Ridge City Court, Middleton must undergo six months of anger management. After a probation period of about one year, she will be eligible for judicial diversion, which could wipe the assault charges from her record, the court decided.

Neither Middleton nor Middleton's attorney, Dee Hobbs, returned requests for comment Tuesday afternoon.

Middleton is also on probationary status in her city employment, according to records in her personnel file.

City Manager Tim Gobble said the city does not comment on personnel matters, but documents show Middleton was suspended after the Feb. 2 incident and has been reassigned as administrative assistant to Stump Martin, the new head of the East Ridge Parks and Recreation Department.

In a reprimand issued to Middleton, Gobble said the decision to reassign her was based on "policy violations, the negative publicity your actions caused the city of East Ridge and the clear disruption of the effective and efficient operation of the workplace."

Gobble said that, even though the position is new, it won't add to the city's payroll because Diane Qualls, the city's budget manager, has taken on the role of city recorder along with her oversight of the city's finances.

Neither employee will see a change in pay, Gobble said.

Because of her probationary status, Middleton -- who has worked for the city for more than 15 years -- will be ineligible for a pay raise next year, Gobble said.

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