As supporters were set to mass at City Hall before Tuesday night's City Council meeting to peacefully protest the firing of Simpsonville Police Chief Keith Grounsell, Mayor Perry Eichor released a statement late Tuesday afternoon stating his regret for originally voting to hire him.
The statement also came a day after Grounsell delivered a highly detailed, 24-page letter to City Hall demanding an official grievance hearing over his firing by Council in a 5-2 vote on Dec. 28. The letter makes a step-by-step case against the firing. Read Grounsell's grievance letter here.
While Eichor said he was saddened this situation has occurred with Grounsell, he added, "…I made an error when voting to hire him."
Here's the full text of Eichor's statement:
"There have been a lot of questions asked in recent days about personnel matters within the City of Simpsonville. As Mayor of Simpsonville, I believe it is important for me to share my views.
I am saddened this situation has occurred with Keith Grounsell. I was one of the four people who originally voted for Keith Grounsell. I understand the pressures and job requirements of being a police chief- I used to be one.
However, I made an error when voting to hire him. He does not have the skills to be the police chief responsible for the 40 plus employees in this city. While his resume showed he was an experienced police officer, there is a major difference between being an officer and a chief of police.A police chief is required to report to the City Administrator. He has to answer to all of City Council. He has to take instructions. He has to manage all employees fairly and by the laws of the City of Simpsonville -not his own.
Keith Grounsell knew all of these job requirements, but did not follow them. He repeatedly said and showed by his actions that he believed he was the absolute authority and refused to work with others. Keith Grounsell also showed a lack of candor needed to be a police chief when he had discussed the details of a human resources meeting that he earlier had agreed to keep confidential.
It was my and the majority of City Council's judgment that he needed to be removed after a series of decisions by him put the city in jeopardy of legal action after repeatedly being told not to do so. This was not an action that was taken lightly."
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