Business as Usual for Carbondale Council


By Amy Fox
By Benjy Jeffords

CARBONDALE--  Jody O'Guinn lost his job as Carbondale's top police officer August 19. Tuesday, the city council met for the first time since his dismissal. But, the decision that seemed to come out of nowhere, prompted little discussion among city leaders Tuesday evening.

It was business as usual for the council. No mention of the police chief's firing. The issue only came up after they opened the floor for public comments and questions. And, even then, leaders didn't say much on the topic.

Last Monday, City Manager Kevin Baity dismissed the police chief for undisclosed reasons.

"I don't know what the problem was or what the perceived problem was," said Jody O'Guinn in an exclusive interview with News 3.

City council members were not informed ahead of time. Some say the situation wasn't handled properly.

In a statement released ahead of the meeting, city council member Jane Adams said, "Whatever the narrow, legal or broader political justification for the city manager's actions, this is not the way I want the city to which I've given my heart to treat the people who work for us."

O'Guinn says he had not had a performance review from Baity in two and a half years and was given no severance pay.

O'Guinn said, "He has not indicated to me one time that that he was unhappy about my work or that there were any issues related to my performance."

Tuesday night, one man asked about city employee policies regarding termination durng the city council's public comment opportunities.

"Does this apply to all city employees? Even the police chief that was terminated?"

Carbondale Acting Mayor Don Monty said, "Relative to a specific personnel matter, I don't think it would be appropriate to comment at this time. I will say there are exceptions to those provisions."

"Employment with the city is at will employment. Is that true? That you can be terminated at any time?" The same resident asked.

"It's my understanding from the city attorney that is the case for certain positions," said Monty.

Right now, city officials are still sorting through things. No word yet on when they will begin the search for the next police chief.

Jeff Grubbs is now serving in the interim. He's currently meeting with all of the police department's employees to get to the root of things. He says he's working to make the necessary changes.



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