Spalding County Interim Manager Tim Whalen has served notice on Firefighter Terrence Reid that the County is terminating his employment. The basis of the termination is Mr. Reid’s misconduct in violation of two subsections of Article VIII, Section 7 of the Spalding County Personnel Ordinance.
Subsection 7(u) prohibits willfully giving or making false statements to supervisors, officials or the public. During the course of the discovery of the existence of the video and the County’s investigation, Mr. Reid gave misleading and false statements to his supervisor and the investigator repeatedly regarding who he shared the video with and who he talked to about its existence. Lying will not be tolerated by the County from any of its employees and is grounds for Mr. Reid’s termination.
Subsection 7(b) prohibits conduct unbecoming a public officer or employee. That Mr. Reid recklessly disregarded the humanity of Ms. Kempson-Schacht and the people he was obligated to serve is clear and obvious. Although it does not appear that Mr. Reid intended to cause harm with his actions, his egregious conduct has created grave negative feelings towards all Spalding County Firefighters and has eroded the public’s confidence in the department and in Spalding County.
Subsection 7(r) prohibits violating departmental rules. At the time Mr. Reid used his cell phone to film video of Ms. Kempson-Schacht at the scene of her fatal accident, there was a Fire Department policy prohibiting use of cell phones without the permission of a supervisor. However, the investigation into this matter revealed that this policy was interpreted differently by different shift commanders and that personnel likely were not trained sufficiently on the policy. Therefore, any violation of that policy cannot serve as grounds for termination.