Council votes Grounsell back as Simpsonville's top cop - FOX Carolina 21

Council votes Grounsell back as Simpsonville's top cop, chief demoted

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The city council meeting where Grounsell was reinstated. (Feb. 25, 2014/FOX Carolina) The city council meeting where Grounsell was reinstated. (Feb. 25, 2014/FOX Carolina)
Interim Police Chief Steve Moore addresses the council during Tuesday's meeting. (Feb. 25, 2014/FOX Carolina) Interim Police Chief Steve Moore addresses the council during Tuesday's meeting. (Feb. 25, 2014/FOX Carolina)
Keith Grounsell talks with FOX Carolina after the vote to reinstate him. (Feb. 25, 2014/FOX Carolina) Keith Grounsell talks with FOX Carolina after the vote to reinstate him. (Feb. 25, 2014/FOX Carolina)
A citizen holds up a sign supporting both Moore and Grounsell at the meeting. (Feb. 25, 2014/FOX Carolina) A citizen holds up a sign supporting both Moore and Grounsell at the meeting. (Feb. 25, 2014/FOX Carolina)
SIMPSONVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) -

The Simpsonville City Council reinstated the former police chief and demoted the current chief to deputy chief on Tuesday night.

Chief Steve Moore has held the interim position as police chief in Simpsonville since the previous chief, Keith Grounsell, was fired in December 2012.

The council voted to rescind the December 2012 motion to fire Grounsell, reinstating him as chief. The vote was not unanimous, with the council split in a 4-3 vote, but the newly elected council members who ran on the platform of reinstating Grounsell were able to keep their promise to voters.

The council debated motions and discussed the terminology of whether or not they were allowed to remove Moore as chief, who sat in the back of the room until asked by council members to weigh in.

"I have to sacrifice my pride in order to step aside and do something like this, and not fight," Moore said. "Because that's not my way."

Moore said at the meeting that he wants the town to heal and is willing to step aside if the council wants Grounsell.

The council voted to demote Moore to deputy chief but agreed he would keep his same salary.

The first councilman to vote on the decision was Matthew Gooch, Ward I, who voted against reinstating Grounsell.

"Your tax dollars just went flying out the window," Gooch said. "And they'll be more."

Phyllis Long, who works for the city, said Moore is paid $75,705 a year for the position. The council said Grounsell's salary will be about the same.

And on top of that, the city will also pay Grounsell back pay. Gooch and others were also concerned about doling out the back pay for someone who had not worked for the city in 14 months. The city said it will likely be paid out over time.

"I am concerned about the funding," said Mayor Perry Eichor. "I'm very concerned about it. I'm not sure how are going to be able to afford that."

Grounsell said he plans to sit down with Moore and the city administrator first thing Wednesday to make sure they are all  on the same page. He said he hopes those who were not happy with the council's decision will give him a chance.

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