Local News

November 15, 2012

Former Chatsworth police detective appeals for job

A long-time Chatsworth Police Department detective who was let go earlier this month is appealing to get his job back.

Chief Terry Martin initially said Jim Whitehead was no longer with the department because of “personnel problems” but later said his job was eliminated because of budget cuts. Whitehead’s appeal hearing before the city’s police committee is set for 3 p.m. on Nov. 26 at City Hall.

A phone number for Whitehead could not be found, and he didn’t respond to a message left through Facebook.

City Attorney Steve Williams said Whitehead’s appeal is unusual because he’s using a grievance policy for fired employees even though he technically wasn’t fired.

Whitehead’s personnel file is also paradoxical; it includes two separation notices. The first was issued Nov. 2, one day after Whitehead was written up for violating department policies for on- and off-duty conduct, and gives the “reason for separation” as the policies he violated. “Jimmy Whitehead had inappropriate contact with another officer’s wife. Texting and photos,” according to the employee notice signed by Martin and Whitehead’s supervisor. A handwritten notation on the separation notice, dated Nov. 5, states “clerical error due to communication error.”

The second separation notice is dated Nov. 5 and mentions nothing about policy violations, saying simply, “The position of detective has been eliminated due to budget cuts.”

The personnel file includes other employee notices dated Feb. 7, 1992, for violating department rules concerning a gas card, and on Sept. 30, 1992, for improper conduct when Whitehead was “involved in a pushing match with a Murray County Sheriff jailor and Mr. Whitehead struck the jailor with his fist in the mouth. And also was responsible for letting a prisoner escape.” For the latter incident, Whitehead was suspended for two days without pay.

Contacted on Nov. 2, Martin took credit for the decision to let Whitehead go, saying it was for “personnel problems” but declining to provide details. He called back later that day to say Whitehead wasn’t fired but was let go because his job was being eliminated because city leaders asked Martin to make budget cuts. On Wednesday, Martin referred questions about what happened to Alderman Fred Welch.

“I have no comments on that one,” Martin said. “That came from City Hall.”

Welch, who is a member of the police committee that will hear Whitehead’s appeal, said the decision “came up in budget talks about eliminating some positions.” He said, “Personnel issues we don’t comment on,” and referred questions to Williams.

Williams confirmed Whitehead’s appeal likely is related to the employee notice he received, but he said the official reason for Whitehead losing his job has nothing to do with text messages. Williams said he didn’t know why Whitehead was issued different separation notices or who was responsible for that, but he said city policy doesn’t provide an appeals process for employees who lose their jobs in budget cuts.

“There is really nothing to appeal. He’s not being disciplined,” Williams said. “Based on the fact that the position has been eliminated, there’s really nothing in the rules to deal with that, but because he’s appealed pursuant to the disciplinary rules, we’re going to go ahead and afford him the opportunity to come talk to the council and tell them whatever he wants to tell them.”

Whitehead had worked for the department since Sept. 20, 1990, and was paid close to $50,000 annually this year. Williams said Whitehead was approved for unemployment benefits, and according to his personnel file he will receive $2,253.46 in vacation pay.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Four arrested on meth, marijuana charges

    A traffic stop of a suspicious vehicle led to the arrest of four people on meth charges and the seizure of more than four pounds of meth and several firearms on Wednesday, officials said.

    August 1, 2014

  • Dalton State turtle 4.jpg In the mood for love: Encouraging breeding, saving species

    For one Dalton State College couple, a cool misty shower is more effective than Barry White and candles at turning thoughts to love. And keeping this couple feeling amorous could mean survival of the species.

    August 1, 2014 4 Photos

  • Beaulieu expects 2,000 employees to be affected by week-long shutdown

    About 2,000 employees of Beaulieu of America in Georgia and Alabama will be affected by the company’s plans to conduct an inventory of its buildings and facilities next week.

    August 1, 2014

  • Moral monday 3 mlh.jpg Four ‘jailed for justice’ tell their stories

    Arturo Martinez was just 8 when his family came to the United States from Mexico, and though he is one of more than 500,000 young undocumented immigrants granted deferred removal by President Barack Obama, Martinez said his dream of pursuing higher education is out of reach because of Georgia policies.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tanner Blackton: Diners, servers must show understanding

    Try to imagine this: You’ve been on your feet for hours, hoisting heavy plates, buzzing from table to table, taking orders, running food, refilling drinks. All the while, you have a smile plastered on your face and a go-to attitude, even when people blame you for things that are out of your control, berate you for accidentally mixing up an order, or loudly complain about being seated underneath an air conditioning vent.

    August 1, 2014

  • Bugs and Kisses 1 mlh.jpg Local stores expect tax holiday to create lots of sales

    Local retailers say Georgia’s sales tax holiday weekends mean big business for them, and they are gearing up to capitalize on this year’s tax-free shopping on Friday and Saturday.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Esme file mw 2.jpg Still fighting

    Ten-year-old Esme Miller was celebrated earlier this year for the way she’s handled a bout with osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Historical photos of Murray County needed

    Maybe you have a photograph of a well-known preacher from the 1940s. Or maybe you have a photograph taken of a church choir from the 1920s.

    July 30, 2014

  • State DOT wants your input on transportation needs

    As state and national leaders consider alternatives for funding future transportation needs, the Georgia Department of Transportation wants to know what Georgians would like in their 21st century transportation system and how they recommend paying for it.

    July 30, 2014

  • Jail for Justice Tour event here tonight

    The Moral Monday Georgia Coalition, the NAACP-led multi-racial, multi-issue advocacy group, will host an event in partnership with the Georgia Dreamers Alliance, Coalition of Latino Leaders (CLILA), Whitfield NAACP and the Whitfield County Democratic Party at Dalton’s Mack Gaston Community Center tonight from 5 to 9.

    July 30, 2014