In his first action as a Soddy-Daisy city commissioner, Steve Everett made a motion on Thursday to fire Janice Cagle, longtime city manager and former mayor.
Everett said his motivation for firing Cagle was a recording played at Thursday's meeting. In the recording she discusses with former police Chief Jeff Gann and Officer Marty Bowman sending officers to enforce code violations at a mobile home park at the north end of the city in order to drive down its value and encourage the sale of the property.
"When someone has that much authority I feel as a board it's our obligation to make sure that whoever's managing our city is at least doing it within the scope of the law," Everett told the Times Free Press by phone. "You can't violate someone's rights in the name of cleaning up a place. You can't cause someone harm outside of the scope of law in the name of 'cleaning it up' and you definitely can't get involved in trying to help mitigate the price of something."
Commissioner Rick Nunley, along with commissioners Geno Shipley and Everett, voted to terminate Cagle.
"My only comment is what came out of the meeting," Nunley said.
Everett previously mentioned the recording at a June city commission meeting, at which time he only had secondhand knowledge of the recording, he said. He asked members of the board if they had heard the recording. Some nodded yes, and others declined to answer on the advice of the city attorney.
Everett said an individual provided him with the recording when he was elected to the commission earlier this month.
At the time of the June meeting, he said his main concern was Cagle's mismanagement of the police department that allowed an officer, who was being sued and investigated by the FBI for allegedly assaulting a man in custody, to keep his job and serve as lead investigator of a fatal crash that is now the subject of another lawsuit.
"I don't think she's a bad person, I just think she's making bad decisions that wasn't in the best interest of the city," Everett said of Cagle, whose role as city manager included all personnel matters. "We've got to hold ourselves accountable before we can hold others. We've got to be the gold standard if we want people to exceed expectations that work for us."
Former police Chief Gann, one of the officers in the recording, resigned in February after evidence surfaced of an affair with another officer's wife. He served with the department for 22 years.
Everett said he left his job at the Soddy-Daisy Police Department on good terms to pursue other career opportunities around 2000, at which time Cagle was serving as city manager. He said he supported her when she ran for commissioner after she resigned her position as city manager in 2009.
According to Times Free Press archives, city commissioners pressed her to leave in 2009 after she intervened in a traffic stop involving former Mayor Geno Shipley's uncle.
City commissioners voted to appoint Cagle to the city manager position again during the same meeting that former City Manager Hardie Stulce resigned in 2014. At that time she was the city's mayor, but she stepped down from the role just before her appointment as city manager.
Contact Emily Crisman at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6508.