City Manager Gobble Reprimands 2 Court Clerk Employees For Failure To Notify About Daughter's Case

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

East Ridge City Manager Tim Gobble has reprimanded two members of the East Ridge Court Clerk's Office for failure to notify him on the status of a case in which his daughter was the victim of an aggravated robbery.

Mr. Gobble on Tuesday afternoon notified Kathy Carney and Susan Halter that letters of reprimand would go into their personnel files.

That comes after the previous week he gave a five-day unpaid suspension to longtime Court Clerk Joanne Thomas - also in a spat related to his daughter's case. He had been advised that Ms. Thomas made a statement about the case possibly being dismissed. He immediately went to her office and had a confrontation with her. He said the suspension was based on her talking back to him and allegedly following him into a lobby and cursing him.

In the latest incident Mr. Gobble had asked Ms. Carney and Ms. Halter earlier Tuesday if the aggravated robbery cases against Allen Horton and Brandi was still on and whether witnesses needed to be present. He said he wanted to know "ASAP". 

He sent an email notifying them of the reprimand at 3:17 p.m. after not hearing back from them.

No hearing was held at Tuesday court and no witnesses were present. Two new attorneys had to go on the case and a special judge is to be appointed. The case is to be heard on Sept. 25.

Here is the series of Gobble emails Monday and Tuesday to the clerk's office:

From: Tim Gobble
Sent: Monday, September 10, 2012 4:28 PM
To: Susan Halter; Kathy Carney
Cc: Eddie Phillips; Steve Mize; Daniel Stephenson; Tim Mullinax
Subject: Daughters court date confirmation

My family and I have made no request to alter a court date at all for my daughter. This was just confirmed by Kathy Carney, verbally in front of Diane Qualls as a witness. I have said all along, my daughter will be here to attend any proceeding, but give proper notification in advance. Unlike, last week by the Clerk’s Office.  I want it in writing by the Clerk’s Office as to when her attendance is required, in advance. She can be here tomorrow night or next week or the next etc.  But, do not bring her here to sit and do nothing or to just pass the case as she is having to come from college and miss basketball and softball practices. Only bring her in if she is actually needed. That is not too much to ask and a competent office should be able to give me a written answer in advance.

I await your written response.

Thank you.

Tim Gobble

Fom: Tim Gobble
Sent: Tuesday, September 11, 2012 12:56 PM
To: Kathy Carney; Susan Halter
Cc: Eddie Phillips; Daniel Stephenson
Subject: Clarification

My daughter and Michael Prentice have been advised they do not have to be here tonight for a proceeding. However, the police have advised the case is showing on the docket. This email is to confirm their attendance is not required tonight for any proceeding.

Please advise in writing ASAP.

Tim Gobble


From: Tim Gobble
Sent: Tuesday, September 11, 2012 3:19 PM
To: Susan Halter; Kathy Carney
Cc: John Anderson; Trish Perry; Diane Qualls
Subject: reprimand

The procedures for notifying victims for attendance at ER municipal court appear to create serious gaps in communication which cause uncertainty for the victims on whether attendance is necessary.  When I stated that I expected that you would confirm that it was unnecessary for Courtney to be in attendance tonight and that the case would not be dismissed, that was not a request but a directive.  You are employees of the City of East Ridge and as the city manager I am responsible for the administration of all city employees.  The city manager hires and fires all city employees.  The administration of the Clerk’s Office by city employees is my responsibility as city manager.  How the Judge handles matters in open court is his responsibility. Accordingly, your failure to send to me the confirmation you received from the DA earlier today by 3:00pm, as I directed, is a willful deliberate act of insubordination.  Therefore, Kathy Carney and Susan Halter are reprimanded for this action and a letter of official reprimand is placed in your personnel file.

Tim Gobble

City Manager

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