Bardstown mayor fires former assistant police chief over allegations of document shredding
The mayor of Bardstown has fired the assistant chief of the Bardstown Police Department after he was allegedly trying to shred documents belonging to the City of Bardstown, according to official documents.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The mayor of Bardstown has fired the former assistant chief of the Bardstown Police Department after he was allegedly caught shredding documents belonging to the City of Bardstown, according to official documents.
According to a press release, Mayor John Royalty terminated the employment of Captain / Assistant Chief Thomas R. Roby of the Bardstown Police Department on Tuesday.
The decision is explained in an "Employee Warning Report," also filed by HR Director Larry Green on Tuesday. The text of that report is as follows:
Sometime from the week of April 18th to 22nd, until May 4th, Captain Thomas Roby was observed by the Police Department Administrative Assistant shredding, "piles and piles of documents" and throwing documents into a [trash] can to be shredded by the shredding service. Among those documents were Drug Taskforce case files, Internal Affairs files on former and active police officers, and other documents belonging to the City of Bardstown.
He was also observed by Officer Lynn Davis tearing up a disciplinary document relating to Officer Davis and saying, 'See, you thought I was trying to jam you up.' Officer Davis later recovered the pieces of the torn up file and turned them over to Captain McKenzie Mattingly.
Upon taking possession of a computer, the City IT department found that all of its user files, (the tom.roby user tree) had been deleted. The computer has been sent to the Attorney General's office to try to recover any files that remain on the computer.
The report goes on to state that, "By destroying important records that belong to the City of Bardstown, you have greatly hindered the future operation of the City's Police Department. Whoever follows after you will have to operate without the full value of your work over the years as Captain / Assistant Chief and as the officer in charge of Special Investigations and Internal Affairs. The department may never know what other documents were destroyed without being able to be recovered. The public trust in the department will be diminished, and the question will be unresolved as to the motivation you may have had in destroying so much of the official records of the City of Bardstown's Police Department."
"According to Section III, 3, e, of the Personnel Policies, I am recommending the termination of your employment by the City of Bardstown," wrote HR Director Larry Green at the conclusion of the report. Mayor Royalty's decision to accept that recommendation came later in the day.
The mayor's office says they will have no further comment, "due to potential criminal charges connected with the matter."
Roby's attorney fires back
"The allegations are completely taken out of context," said Roby's attorney, Keith Sparks.
Sparks claims his client was simply clearing out his desk, which was OK'd by the chief.
"He placed old duplicate copies, his own personal files, some unopened files into the shredding box," Sparks said.
Roby was recently demoted by Mayor Royalty and decided to retire. He's already left the department and has been using his accrued vacation time.
"Terminating him in the last weeks and alleging that he committed a crime, it's heinous to me that the city would do this," Sparks told WDRB News.
Sparks calls the move an 'old political vendetta' stemming from Royalty's time with Roby on the Bardstown police force. He also says it comes just weeks after his firm began investigating a lawsuit against the city.
"We gave notice to the city in May of our request for open records relating to the unlawful demotion of Tom Roby that happened in April. Two weeks later, he's in front of the mayor being accused of committing a felony because he cleaned out his desk," Sparks said.
Sparks says his office plans to take action against the city in civil court.
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