JENNINGS — The appeal of a Jennings police officer being fired led to accusations that town employees are afraid of the police chief.
Berry Raulerson attended the Jennings Town Council’s Dec. 4 meeting to appeal a written reprimand and termination he received the week prior from Chief Vincent Robinson.
During the discussion on Raulerson’s termination, he told the council that town staff is afraid of the chief and have made comments about their fear.
“They are afraid,” Raulerson said. “They have said he is a ticking time bomb…we fear one day he is going to snap and shoot up the place.”
Town Clerk Christy Smith, who is also acting as town manager, admitted she said those comments after several people accused Raulerson of “slandering the chief.”
Tom Stone, the town’s attorney, asked Robinson why Raulerson had been fired.
“He failed his probationary period,” Robinson replied.
Stone told Robinson that he would need to give a detailed reason in the public hearing on Raulerson’s appeal regarding the reason Raulerson failed his probation and was being terminated.
Jerry Pittman, a councilman, said that Raulerson slept on duty and is “playing on his computer” when he is supposed to be working. Pittman served as a witness to the termination the previous week.
John Davis, another Jennings police officer, said that is not true. He said he frequently comes into town while Raulerson is on duty and that he is always around town.
“Berry does his job,” Davis said.
Councilman Charles Barrett had heard enough about the ongoing issues regarding the police chief and town staff.
“This council needs to wake up,” Barrett said.
The hearing on Raulerson’s appeal is set for Monday at 7 p.m. Raulerson is currently on unpaid administrative leave until a decision is made from the appeal hearing.
Town manager interviews set
The council will interview three applicants for its open town manager position today at 7 p.m.
The interviews are open to the public.
Martha Butler, Clayton Lambert and James Breletic are the three applicants set to interview.
Budget Lodge license not renewed
The town is not renewing the occupational license for the Budget Lodge at the Interstate 75 exit due to the migrant labor camp that is operating at the hotel.
George Kuchandy, the Budget Lodge owner, told the council he has certificates from the Florida Department of Health, approving the camp.
Stone said the DOH license to operate a migrant labor camp does not supersede the zoning regulations that prohibit a migrant camp being located within the town’s commercial interstate zoning.
Stone told Kuchandy that they will meet with County Attorney Cliff Adams to further discuss the issue.