Two assistant chiefs have been promoted by Decherd into interim leadership roles over the Police and Fire departments following Public Safety Director Ross Peterson’s resignation on July 23.
City Administrator Rex Clark said Wednesday that the Police Department is now being headed by Kenneth Griffin while Charles Williams is leading the Fire Department.
Clark said the Board of Mayor and Aldermen will consider whether to advertise for a public safety director or whether to have separate police and fire chiefs. He added that the process may take some time before a final decision is made.
“It will probably take a month or two to get everything settled down to where a final decision can be made,” Clark said.
He said that once the board decides which route to take, then the public safety director or individual chiefs’ positions can be advertised. He added that interim Chiefs Griffin and Williams would be able to apply for the public safety director's position or respectively for the police or fire chief’s positions.
Peterson had been under scrutiny for circumstances stemming from when an off-duty officer was charged with aggravated assault in a road-rage case in Murfreesboro and from a sexual-harassment complaint filed by Police Sgt. Bruce Elliott that included 38 current and former Decherd employees as witnesses which was filed against Peterson and wife Michelle Peterson, a Water Department clerk, on grounds there was “blatant and repeated sexual harassment” while on the job.
Peterson had said the conditions he was facing stemmed from a political attack with an upcoming Decherd municipal election on Aug. 5 and a county election next year.
Clark said Mrs. Peterson resigned from her position on Monday, and the decision on who will replace her is up to Water/Wastewater Superintendent Eric Bradford.