Salisbury City Councilman Kenny Hardin on a Citizen’s Issue and the Salisbury City Manager’s Poor Response

Posted on February 1, 2017

Kenny Hardin, Salisbury City Councilman

♦ In my ongoing effort to keep citizens aware of City interactions and communications, below is an email exchange between the City Manager, resident Carolyn Logan, and myself.

I was disappointed in the frivolous, patronizing, and insensitive manner in which the City Manager dealt with Ms. Logan. I took exception to his veiled attempt to imply that I was impeding a City employee, who I feel does not meet the standards of respect and customer friendly values of the City, from executing her duties. She is the not the first City employee I have gone to the City Manager to share behavioral concerns, yet he opts to remain derelict in his responsibility and does not address the behavior. We can’t continue to wonder why relationships are poor and nonexistent with our community when employees are allowed to exhibit substandard behavior.

Ms. Logan has been coming to City Council meetings regularly for nearly six months asking for relief and a show of concern from the City regarding the gun violence and murders. She asked for a one to one meeting with the Police Chief well over four months ago but was never given the courtesy or respect for follow up. Yet, in spite of this slight, she continued to come to every meeting to share her concerns. Her passion and frustration were even misidentified and she was deemed as being angry and yelling at Council. Ridiculous.

In the last week, the City decided to meet with Ms. Logan, but didn’t have her contact information. This showed me her concerns were never a priority. They scheduled a meeting for this week and she asked me to attend. Ms. Logan was told that the Public Information Officer would also sit in on the meeting and I responded questioning why. I didn’t feel her presence was needed or appropriate.

I questioned why she would need to be in the meeting since she is not a Law Enforcement official nor is she in a position of authority, so there is nothing she can add except politicizing the issue. I asked that a Police leader, either a Captain, Lieutenant or Patrol Sergeant who is actually out in the field where her concerns stem from be included instead of this random employee. She has shown me previously she doesn’t not adhere to confidentiality or is trustworthy.

In response, the City Attorney was brought into the discussion and I was told I was impeding the PIO from doing her job. I responded to the City Manager in the email exchange that I would bring my attorney and would welcome the opportunity to delve deeper into this issue. There are other questions I would welcome the opportunity to be asked as well.

Ms. Logan was extremely disappointed that her request was not taken seriously. I advised her that if the PIO was allowed to attend in place of law enforcement leaders to cancel the meeting. I advised her to seek relief through other external advocacy and investigative third part agencies.

If you have questions or concerns about the insensitivity, lack of genuine concern and patronizing email responses or the lack of progress on reducing this gun violence in our City, feel free to contact the City Manager at (704) 638-5228.

Kenny Hardin Wrote:

“Mr. Bailey, Carolyn Logan has requested that I attend the meeting with Chief Stokes on Thursday at 2:30 pm. She has questions as I do as to why the City’s PIO, who is a staff member will be present instead of another member of the Police Department leadership team?

If the point is to have a witness, her presence is highly inappropriate and could be construed as an intimidation strategy. If this is to allow a citizen to share concerns and build a relationship with the PD, then her presence is simply a distraction and renders the meeting as nothing more than patronizing as she has no law enforcement authority.

I don’t think it’s appropriate to have the PIO in this meeting and would ask that she be replaced with Capt Stallings, Capt. Thompson or another 2nd tier leader. If this a media event that requires the PIO, please let me know so that I can contact media representatives to attend. Please let me know who will be in attendance.”

Thank you,
Kenny Hardin

Layne Bailey Wrote:

“Mr. Hardin,

I asked Linda to reach out to Carolyn Logan as the Communications Director for the city. Linda’s responsibilities include meeting with our residents on various issues, not only media relations. Ms. Logan has expressed her concern about crime in our community at numerous City Council meetings. The meeting between Linda, the Chief, and Ms. Logan is strictly to hear her concerns in a more intimate setting, share with her some policing initiatives and learn how we can work with Ms. Logan on other initiatives.

Linda was made aware of your email today and feels some frustration and uncomfortableness with your statements, considering Ms. Logan has expressed that no in the city has yet to reach out to her. As Communications Director, Linda is a very appropriate contact to work with Ms. Logan and any other citizen that has concerns. Linda feels that your continued questioning of her responsibilities and appropriateness of engaging residents is making it difficult for her to do her job as I ask.”

Kenny Hardin wrote:

Mr. Bailey,

“It is not my responsibility to mediate an employees feelings. She has acted both unprofessionally and irresponsible in her duties and you have failed to adequately address her behavior. I have received other complaints from citizens and media who have expressed concern with her poor attitude and behavior. She does not exhibit the customer friendly service value of a city employee that you promote and I find her rude and unprofessional. I have no confidence in her as the communications director.

I purposely have no personal or professional interactions, dealings or contact with Ms. McElroy since she violated a private employee meeting and contacted a media person demanding to know why she reached out to me about her behavior. It is my right to expect professional behavior from City Employees and if I do so, I will not be accused of harassment. This is the 2nd employee who has directed rude and unprofessional behavior towards me. As an elected official who your role reports to as a member of Council, I’m not satisfied with the level of response. If you see fit to include the City Attorney in this issue, I will be happy to include my attorney and we can sort this issue out in any type of forum.

Again, this is not a City communications issue so she has no reason to attend the meeting. Ms. Logan asked to speak with the Police Chief not staff. If Ms. McElroy is allowed to attend this meeting I will not attend and will encourage Ms. Logan to decline and seek alternative means via third party entities to have her concerns addressed.”

Kenny Hardin Wrote:

“Mr. Bailey,

As an additional note, to counter your veiled attempt to imply that I am somehow impeding Ms. McElroy’s ability to do her job, questioning her competence or engaging in a pattern of harassment, I was not referring to attempts to contact Ms. Logan today.

Ms. Logan requested to speak with the Chief in an intimate setting 3-4 months ago. Neither you, Ms. McElroy or the Chief had her contact information, so its safe to safe no one was reaching out to her. I provided you with her phone number. So if you’re job role and a priority, it shouldn’t have e taken four months to accomplish.

Again, I view this as a poor attempt to establish a defense for dereliction in responsibility and to paint me as unfairly demanding. As I asked, the only thing I want from the employee is to do her job professionally and courteously.

Ms. Logan shared that she was having consistent communication with the PIO today, but did not receive further correspondence after she acknowledged I would be attending.

If the request to have a law enforcement official in the room instead of an employee, then please let me know so that the meeting can be cancelled and Ms. Logan can seek other means of relief.”

Kenny Hardin

Posted in: Articles