Homewood police chief suspended after claims of insubordination

HOMEWOOD, Ala. (WIAT) — People in Homewood want to know why the mayor suspended the police chief for three days without pay claiming insubordination.

The suspension reportedly stems from a budget request dispute. WIAT 42 obtained a copy of the notice of suspension given to the chief by the Jefferson County Personnel Board.

Mayor Scott McBrayer accuses Homewood Police Chief Jim Roberson of going around him and intentionally trying to get some budget items approved by the finance committee after the mayor told him they were off the table.

McBrayer says in the notice to the chief that the acts were done willfully and maliciously as an act of insubordination.

The notice says that a decision was made to suspend the chief for three days without pay from Sept. 29 through Oct. 1.

People we spoke with can’t recall anything like this ever happening in Homewood.

“Never, never and we’ve been in business going on 28 years here. There’s never been any problems at all that I knew of,” said David John Walls, of Bridal Bliss.

“Why would the chief of police be suspended for trying to do his job? And why would the mayor have to go to that extent?  To prove a point? Maybe, I don’t know,” said Pope Rivers. ” I’m sure if the Chief of Police for Homewood was suspended, I’m sure everybody would like to know what happened, you know? What? Why did you go to that extent to suspend the chief of police, you know? It doesn’t happen often.”

The Homewood Police Department referred WIAT 42 to the mayor for comment, and the mayor said he would not comment on a personnel matter.

It’s unclear which budget items were at issue, but city records show that McBrayer did not authorize a needs assessment for a new police headquarters or a new jail camera system at a combined cost of $290,000.

We reached out to several city council members, but only one would make any comment. Council President Bruce Limbaugh wouldn’t go into great detail, but he said that the council is behind the mayor on the decision.

Roberson has the right to appeal the suspension. He is scheduled to return to work on Thursday.

Copyright 2014 WIAT 42 News

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