BREAKING NEWS: Mt. Juliet City Hall sex scandal results in termination, resignations
MT. JULIET - The sex scandal that has rocked Mt. Juliet City Hall the past two weeks has resulted in the termination of the city's assistant public works director and the resignation of four other long time employees effective Wednesday.
Yet another investigation into a separate issue that emerged from this original probe is ongoing, said Interim City Manager Kenneth Martin. However, the results of that investigation won't be released for a few more days.
At this moment the city is preparing to release the results of an internal investigation into the sexting scandal that blew up when a complaint was filed about five city employees using city cell phones and email to "sext" and send inappropriate messages.
City of Mt. Juliet Human Resources Director Jill Johnson confirmed not long ago that Assistant Public Works Director Shannon (Cajun) Joyner was terminated as the result of the investigation. He's been with the city for 11 years. Project Manager Casey Binion resigned. He's been with the city for 11 years. Tax clerk Amanda Graves, purchasing clerk Charlene Crossllin, and her husband MJPD Sgt. Jason Crosslin all resigned. All three have been with the city six years.
The probe into allegations that appeared in a complaint filed by a Mt. Juliet Police officer has lasted a week and a half, said Martin. The complaint was about these employees using city cell phones and email to send explicit messages while on city time. When the complaint was filed, many top level city officials said they were embarrassed and Mt. Juliet Mayor Ed Hagerty Monday night said the allegations were "appalling and disgusting."
All said vetting of the allegations in the investigation would be open and upfront. Martin said just a while ago that he will release the investigation report sometime this afternoon, but he felt that it was a very effective and to the point investigation.
"I am so so sorry all of this has happened," he said this afternoon. "We are all human beings and sometimes we make mistakes. Everyone's hearts are broken and we are all embarrassed about this. But these people have to be held accountable."
He said a similar issue related to these people was raised in late 2010 or early 2011.
"We had to do the right thing about this," he said .
He noted that if the four had not resigned, they would have been terminated.
"Not only are all the citizens disappointed, but we are heartbroken and I think these people are too," he noted. "Anytime you leave a shadow on a bright community it is not a good thing. But they are held accountable."
Hagerty Monday night said he was going to try to pass an amendment that would de-fund all the positions held by these five employees. At that time Hagerty said if these employees had enough time to waste sexting while on the job, perhaps the jobs were not necessary. He said if the amendment passed he would consider reestablishing the positions when the managers of these departments could restore confidence. Martin said that he was going to evaluate the positions to see if they were necessary. He also said that he felt that the current policy regarding using city equipment for inappropriate use was "good," but perhaps needed to be revisited and reiterated to employees.
This story will be expanded with details of the investigation as soon as the report is released.
Mt. Juliet News Managing Editor Laurie Everett can be reached at 754-6397 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org