Monroe’s interim city manager said Wednesday he will not take disciplinary action against Police Chief Debra Duncan, who, according to a consultant’s report for the city, surreptitiously tape-recorded the former manager.
Interim Manager Greg Demko said he has had discussions with Duncan, who “acknowledged that she taped him … She identified the causes, reasons and circumstances that led to her actions.”
Demko declined to elaborate.
In an emailed response Wednesday to questions from the Observer, Duncan stated, “I agree with Mr. Demko in that we had several discussions and no disciplinary action was warranted.” She did not elaborate.
When the report came out last month, Duncan issued a statement denying doing anything wrong and said her reputation has been built on honesty.
The taping surfaced as part of a scathing 29-page report that described a city hall populated by paranoid workers and meddling City Council members.
The report stated there was “credible and objective evidence” that Duncan had secretly tape-recorded her boss, former City Manager Wayne Herron, without his consent.
Herron abruptly quit last July following a heated closed-door council debate over his choice not to give Duncan a performance bonus. An anonymous call by a woman threatening the chief was traced to Herron’s home.
Duncan, 58, earns $116,771 a year. She has been chief since mid-2006.
Last fall, council members had ordered the report by lawyers with Parker Poe Adams and Bernstein to see why their city managers kept quitting; they are looking for their fourth manager in 12 years.
The report laid bare a culture of nepotism that saw the hiring of friends and relatives of council members, as well as Duncan’s daughter.
In her email Wednesday, Duncan stated she was not involved in the decision to hire her daughter or in any other aspect of her daughter’s employment.
Demko said the city is drafting new policies in the wake of the report, including dealing with nepotism. City Council may take them up next month, spokesman Pete Hovanec said.
The report also said many employees feared being secretly recorded and worried that City Hall was bugged, noting, “There is an unhealthy state of paranoia that exists throughout the City Hall.”
But while the report recommended sweeping the building for hidden listening devices to help restore staff confidence, Demko said he did not think that was necessary.
Before the report came out, councilwoman Dottie Nash had publicly acknowledged she had taped Herron without him knowing it because she thought other board members would not believe their conversation.
There is no citywide policy addressing the tape-recording of staff, the report said.