KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The city of Knoxville has settled a dispute with two former Fleet Services employees who allegedly harassed their supervisor and used city purchasing cards while being placed on administrative leave for more than a year.

According to a summary of the investigation shared with WATE by the city, the Knoxville News Sentinel published an article in December 2019 revealing Fleet Services employees Roger Rainey and Rick Davis tracked their supervisor Jeff Johnson via GPS using a city vehicle and equipment while on and off the clock.

The article startled Rainey and Davis’ co-workers who believed they too might have been tracked. The two were placed on paid leave and an investigation was launched. A number of their co-workers reported concerns over the two men, ranging from stalking to neglect of duty to threats of violence.

“I mean they followed [Johnston] around all over Knoxville,” one co-worker said “How do I know they’re not doing that to me? I have a six-year-old daughter that I have to be concerned about. And I have seen Rick [Davis] explode over something as little as windshield wipers. … How do I know he’s not gonna do that to me?”

Another employee said that in 2016 Rainey said, “[This Deputy Director] better hope I don’t see him in a parking lot somewhere at night.”

That investigation was slowed by the COVID-19 pandemic beginning in 2020 and was put on hold when Davis and Rainey filed a lawsuit in federal court claiming retaliation.

Because of the hold as a result of the lawsuit, the city says internal affairs investigators were not able to prove or disprove claims made during their investigation. Rainey and Davis resigned from their Fleet Service positions as part of the litigation settlement, ending the investigation or possibility of disciplinary action.

Davis resigned at the end of July. Rainey resigned at the end of October. Under the settlement, they’ll be able to keep accrued salary and benefits, $37,405.37 to Rainey and $40,516.20 to Davis. In exchange, they’ll release their claims against the city.

Meanwhile, the city admits no wrongdoing, declaring that the settlement agreement came to avoid more delay and expense.

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