By Debbie Gregory
By a vote of 4-1, the Red Boiling Springs City Council fired City Clerk Tessa Davis at a special called meeting on Thursday, October 19.
The issue had been placed on the agenda following an incident at City Hall that led to the arrest of a city employee’s wife, Mrs. Jamie Owens, who had confronted Ms. Davis for allegedly having an inappropriate relationship with her husband, Chad Owens.
When Mayor Joel Coe called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. he said, “we are going to be civil, there is going to be no voice raising, and if there is any disorderly conduct you will be escorted out of the council room.
The following councilmen were present: George McCrary, Joe Hill, Cynthia Smalling, Joseph Reardon, and Lee Butram.
“As everyone knows we had an incident here at City Hall recently, involving City Clerk Tessa Davis,” said Mayor Coe. “There are several ways we can handle this. Ms. Davis is on a one year probation period as a new city employee and if we think there is disorderly conduct and disruption in city business going on, we need to do something about it.”
“I am going to give Tessa Davis a chance to discuss the situation if she wants to,” said the Mayor.
Ms. Davis’ attorney stood up and said, “Ms. Davis is represented by my firm and my name is Jason Denton. I haven’t seen any written documentation of the allegations against her at this time of this disorderly conduct. So, till we have some more details as to exactly what you are alleging was the disorderly conduct, she is not going to speak.”
“Number one, sir, I am not alleging,” said Mayor Coe.
“Then what the allegations are then sir,” said Ms. Davis attorney.
Mayor Coe, “Number two, I am going to ask for depositions.”
“That’s fine,” said Denton.
When Mayor Coe asked is anyone there wanted to submit depositions against Ms. Tessa Davis, three women spoke up. Ms. Davis’ attorney asked if these women could be identified for the record. They were Karen Tuck, Gina Bohanan, and Jamie Owens.
“Right now I would like to have an open discussion about this issue,” said Mayor Coe.
Councilman George McCrary spoke, “Mr. Mayor since we are not represented by council, I am a little leery of getting into this matter until we have proper council. Since there is going to be be some controversy here, I just don’t feel comfortable with the fact that if we took some sort of action, it might lead to some further action down the road, until we are represented.”
(RBS City Attorney Jimmy White was not present at the meeting.)
Councilwoman Smalling said, “She is on probation, I thought.”
Councilman McCrary, “Well, we can take the action, but I’m just saying…”
“She is on probation,” interrupted Smalling.
McCrary, “I’m just saying…”
Mayor Coe, “If you are on probation you don’t have…”
“You don’t have to have a reason to get rid of her,” said Councilman Smalling.
“It’s your call Mayor,” pointed out Councilman McCrary.
Councilwoman Smalling, “I make a motion we get rid of her tonight. Let’s get it settled and over with. I make a motion to get rid of her.”
“We have a motion on the table,” said Mayor Coe.
Councilwoman Smalling, “Joe Hill, speak up.”
Councilman Hill, “I second the motion.”
Roll call vote: Councilman Joe Hill, yes; Councliwoman Smalling, yes; Councilman Reardon, yes; Councilman Butram, no; Councilman McCrary, yes.
Mayor Coe commented, “All new full-time employees are on a 12 month probation period and if their job performance is not up to standard, they can be terminated for any reason. This passed in the minutes of 2009.”