Local News

Fayetteville Manager Fired Amid Police Department Controversy

Posted February 18, 1997 12:00 a.m. EST

— City manager John Smith received a standing ovation after being fired by the Fayetteville city council Monday night.

The council voted 5-4 to oust Smith and replace him with deputy manager Roger Stancil.

Also Monday, the council voted by the same margin to hire a Georgia municipal judge and a Cincinnati lawyer to investigate personnel practices in the Police Department and city manager's office.

The council appointed Ronald Hunter to lead the investigation into allegations that Police Chief Ron Hansen discriminated against three black officers who had complained about racism in the department.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People accuses the department of having a racially hostile work environment, claiming there's discrimination and reprisals for those who blow the whistle. The NAACP told the council the police department fired one officer and punished others for speaking out about discrimination.

At a meeting in January, the council asked for the personnel files of three officers who allege racism in the police department. About a hundred police officers attended the meeting, where council members listened to charges and counter-charges.

City Manager John Smith defends the actions taken against the three black officers. The police department says the charges of racism are unfounded. Police Chief Ron Hansen said he thinks members of the NAACP are out for his job.

The Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has also launched a probe into this matter.