WARNER ROBINS — City Council swiftly moved Thursday to re-instate Brett Evans as police chief, cutting short a seven-day suspension originally imposed by the mayor.
After meeting in closed session during the called meeting for more than an hour on “personnel matters and matters of potential litigation,” Councilman Bob Wilbanks made the motion to re-instate Evans, which passed 5-1.
Evans missed work Wednesday and Thursday after Mayor Chuck Shaheen suspended him for seven days without pay for violating a city ordinance prohibiting political activity by a city employee.
A mediator hired by the city to investigate harassment claims made against the police department by another employee discovered during interviews with Evans that he had told employees at different times that mayoral candidate Chuck Chalk was the best candidate for the police department. Evans also told Jennifer Keaton of the Atlanta firm One Mediation that he had campaign signs for Chalk in the yard at his Houston County home.
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Friday morning, he said, he’ll be back behind his desk, ready to work.
“All I’m going to say is I appreciate the support of the council, the citizens and my employees,” Evans said after Thursday’s vote.
Councilman John Williams, who voted against the re-instatement, said he felt the decision of the mayor should have been upheld by the council.
“Brett Evans is a good police chief and a good friend,” Williams said. “But this council has not supported this mayor. I think it’s up to the council to uphold the mayor’s decision.
“And uphold the law.”
Wilbanks said he felt penalizing Evans for something others were guilty of as well did not sit well with him.
“When we take action on someone in the city, we’re making a statement,” he said. “If you think one employee made one statement about one election in a city of 500 employees, you’re mistaken.”
For more on this story, come back to Macon.com or pick up Friday's Telegraph.