Personnel board debates plight of 3 city employees

By Julie Fann
star staff

Members of the Elizabethton Personnel Advisory Board and City Manager Charles Stahl on Tuesday night debated the plight of three city employees police say violated city policy and stole items from vehicles located on the city's storage lot. Larry Caldwell, Keith Ingram and Todd Berry appealed the city manager's decision to terminate their employment.
   Stahl informed the board that police came to him with information regarding the theft and that he decided to consult the board, which is proper procedure for city employees, rather than file charges against the men. Stahl said that, according to city employee rules and regulations, the three men took property which belongs to the city and is not rightfully theirs.
   The men have no previous records of disciplinary action with the city. Caldwell has worked for the city for 22 years, Ingram for 17 years, and Berry for five years. Stahl's statement to the board spoke to the employees' violation of city policy. "Regardless of years of service, we have no tolerance for theft in this city; the value of items taken wasn't at issue; the act itself was the issue," he said.
   According to Police Officer Danny Hilbert, the men entered three or four cars located on the city's impound lot on Hattie Avenue and took several items, among them a can of fix-a-flat, a bottle of power steering fluid, a bottle of brake fluid, some home insect fogger, duct tape, two lightbulbs, a wrench, three batteries and a small yellow ball.
   The Personnel Advisory Board decided to reconvene next week to decide if the city manager properly followed city policy. Depending on their decision, either the city manager will decide the fate of the men, or the board will create binding terms upon which his decision will depend.