Soddy-Daisy: City manager 'pressured' out

Soddy-Daisy: City manager 'pressured' out

February 20th, 2009 by Jacqueline Koch in Local Regional News

Allen Lewis, 49, wanted nothing less than the start of a formal impeachment process against Soddy-Daisy commissioners whose actions have caused the city embarrassment in recent weeks.

"They're doing stuff on the street that the normal person would be incarcerated for," said Mr. Lewis, who has lived in Soddy-Daisy for 40 years.

Mr. Lewis was one of more than 100 people in an overflow crowd at City Hall on Thursday night who heard sometimes heated, sometimes emotional discussion expressing support and disdain for the commission. About half a dozen residents came forward to address the commission and crowd.

Some residents said they supported the police department and are ashamed of the actions of commissioners, who try to control officers, he said.

"We've got a fairly good council of embarrassment," Mr. Lewis said. "Police officers are afraid to do their jobs."

He referred to Mayor Gene Shipley and City Manager Janice Cagle, who became involved in the traffic stop of Mr. Shipley's uncle Jan. 1. Ms. Cagle called the sergeant in charge of the shift, who told the arresting officer that his job probably would be in jeopardy if he didn't release the uncle - who had been pulled over under suspicion of drunken driving - to relatives.

Staff Photo by John Rawlston Citizens fill the City Commission meeting room at the Soddy-Daisy City Hall on Thursday night to hear about recent controversial events that have happened involving city commissioners, the mayor and the police department.

During Thursday's meeting, Ms. Cagle announced her retirement effective April 3. When asked why she was leaving after serving in the position for more than nine years, she replied, "Pressure" and refused to elaborate.

"Things have come to pass in the last several months that I think it's time for me to leave," Ms. Cagle said.

Mr. Shipley addressed his uncle's traffic stop before residents' participation during the meeting and explained that he simply made a phone call to ask if his uncle had to go to jail or could be released to family. The Hamilton County district attorney's office found no wrong-doing in the incident.

"There was never the intent of a cover-up in no way," Mr. Shipley said. "I hate that I embarrassed the city in any way. I think there's a lesson in involvement in the police department."

Mr. Shipley's wife, Rita Shipley, addressed the crowd with tears in her eyes and a tissue in her hand.

"This man has served the city and the only thing he came to this town to do was to do good for the city," Mrs. Shipley said, adding she was ashamed of the way people were casting stones. "These political games and back-biting (keep) the city from doing what it's supposed to do."

Some residents expressed support for the commission and Mr. Shipley.

"I feel this has been blown out of proportion," resident Drew Newman said. "I've talked to more than three officers that still support the mayor and this commission."

Vice Mayor Bob Privett loudly addressed issues about family favoritism and the traffic stop of Eddie Dent, wagging his finger at some residents.

City Attorney Sam Elliott said he had told commissioners not to discuss the death of Roger Redden, who died a couple weeks after he was stunned by the Taser of Soddy-Daisy Officer Melissa Daniels. Autopsy results are not yet available and the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office is investigating the incident.

"We simply do not have all the facts," he said.