KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — During a special called meeting of the Athens City Council, city manager Seth Sumner was suspended for two weeks without pay.
The vote to suspend Sumner came at the end of a heated meeting that last just over four hours. The meeting was called to discuss the recent dismissal of the police chief and the city manager’s possible involvement with a set of missing surveillance cameras. Cliff Couch was fired last week after he had reportedly declined to resign from his position.
During the meeting, the council discussed complaints about how Sumner treats staff and others when disagreements take place. The meeting became heated, with members speaking over each other and some claiming that other members verbally attacked them.
Towards the end of the meeting, Council Member Witt-McMahan introduced a motion to suspend Sumner for two weeks without pay immediately. This motion passed with only one member, Dick Pelley, voting no.
“I would like for us to think about it because once you think about it and you look at the facts, a two-week suspension is not enough,” said Pelley who was arguing for a long suspension or the termination of Sumner.
In addition to suspending Sumner, the council voted to conduct a follow-up evaluation of the performance of the city manager to determine the next steps. Sumner began servicing a city manager in 2017. James Gallup has been named interim city manager.