SHEFFIELD — Sheffield Police Chief Greg Ray was terminated Friday morning after he declined the option of resigning.
He is on leave with pay pending his appeal to the civil service board.
“I have listened to concerns of the council members concerning the chief for some time,” Mayor Ian Sanford said. “Last year, we talked with him about certain things and issues that weren’t being done and things that we would like to see done. They were not done.”
Sanford said it was his decision to ask for Ray’s resignation.
“As chief executive officer of the city, it was something I felt I had to do,” Sanford said.
Sheffield Fire Chief Dewey King has been appointed as temporary police chief.
“He runs his department well. He has 46 years with the city and knows about public safety,” Sanford said about King.
Sanford and City Councilman Gary Scales met with Ray just after 8 a.m. Friday.
Scales said he accompanied the mayor because Councilman Waylon Huguley Jr., the council’s public safety liaison, was out of town.
Scales said Ray was given the option of resigning, but refused.
“It was a tough decision, one you don’t like to have to make,” Sanford said. “But there was a lot of frustration within the council that we felt that he had not followed through on things that should have been done.
“It was a difficult decision. No pleasure in it.”
Ray, 54, has been with the department since 1992. He has been chief since 2007.
Ray said after being dismissed, he was told to be out of the office by 9 a.m.
He was taken home by one of the department’s senior officers.
Sanford said Ray was given a copy of the complaints and a letter. A copy of the complaints also was sent to the city’s civil service board.
The letter charges Ray with insubordination and malfeasance in office and for conduct detrimental to good order and discipline of the Sheffield Police Department.
The letter also outlines a list of eight complaints. Those charge Ray with not fully implementing the electronic-citation program in the department; failing to properly respond to complaints about erratic driving by members of the Police Department; not providing requested incident reports to the mayor and council; falsely reporting to the mayor and council disciplinary action involving an officer; failing to properly provide the clerk’s office with certain purchase orders; failing to attend a neighborhood meeting in District 4 after several requests by Councilwoman Mary Stevens while other department heads attended; inadequate responses to citizens’ complaints against illegal drug activities especially in District 4; and communication with crime victims and citizens reporting criminal activity.
“We met with him about a year ago to discuss some issues and concerns,” Sanford said. “We asked (Ray) to correct these issues and they weren’t addressed.”
Ray has five days to appeal his termination to the city’s civil service board. Because he has the right to appeal the mayor’s decision, Sanford said Ray is on administrative leave with pay during the appeals process.
Ray’s attorney, Tony Hughes, said Ray will appeal the mayor’s decision.
“At this time, we are gathering information and are looking forward to addressing these allegations before the civil service board,” Hughes said Friday afternoon after meeting with Ray.
Sanford said if the civil service board upholds his decision, the council will begin the search for a new chief.
“If they don’t uphold it, he’ll be back,” the mayor said.
Ray has served as chief since Doug Aycock retired in 2007. He was captain over investigation before he was appointed to fill Aycock’s position on a temporary basis. He was later hired for the position.
“Chief Ray and his family want to thank the citizens of the city of Sheffield and the surrounding areas for the overwhelming support they have received,” Hughes said. “Chief Ray has served the citizens of Sheffield for over 20 years and looks forward to the opportunity to continue to serve this community as their chief of police.”
Tom Smith can be reached at 256-740-5757 or tom.smith@TimesDaily.com.
Staff Writer Russ Corey contributed to this report.