Dozens rally behind ex-chief at Simpsonville Council meeting - FOX Carolina 21

Dozens rally behind ex-chief at Simpsonville Council meeting

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Nearly a dozen people hold up signs of support for former Simpsonville police chief Keith Grounsell during a council meeting. (Jan. 8, 2013/FOX Carolina) Nearly a dozen people hold up signs of support for former Simpsonville police chief Keith Grounsell during a council meeting. (Jan. 8, 2013/FOX Carolina)
SIMPSONVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) -

Dozens of people who support former Simpsonville police chief Keith Grounsell rallied at a heated City Council meeting Tuesday night.

Grounsell had been on the job for three months when the City Council voted to fire him on Dec. 28.

After the vote, Grounsell said the decision to fire him was because he tried to clean up the department and butted heads with assistant police chief Colleen O'Neil. However, Simpsonville Mayor Perry Eichor said the decision was made because Grounsell was not a good fit and failed to work well with the city's administration.

On Monday, Simpsonville city administrator Russell Hawes said fire chief Wesley Williams and O'Neil were suspended indefinitely.

Tuesday's meeting came on the same day that Grounsell's attorneys released a grievance filed by the former chief, alleging an inappropriate relationship between Williams and O'Neil and saying that his firing came after he reported their relationship.

SLIDESHOW: Supporters rally at city council meeting

During an executive session at Tuesday's meeting, the Council voted 5-2 to rescind the suspension of two employees, who were not named. Hawes dodged FOX Carolina's Jade Hindmon when she pressed him on the executive session.

"My calls have been ignored," Hindmon said to Hawes. "What's happened in executive session?"

"I can't comment," Hawes replied.

However, Grounsell commented during the meeting, saying he would air out the dirty laundry of the council.

During the meeting, Eichor said he made a mistake when voting to hire Grounsell. He said the former chief lacked the candor needed to be the chief, when he discussed personnel matters with others.

The crowd gathered in the council's chamber was not happy with Eichor's remarks.

"I made a mistake when I voted for you," said one person.

Councilman George Curtis said his vote will not be swayed by public opinion.

"The day will come where if you choose to, you can get rid of all of us," Curtis said.

The council adjourned without taking any action on the issue of the fired chief.

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