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Belmont police chief fired, appealing decision with City Council

The police chief of Belmont, Charlie Franklin, is fighting a decision by the city manager to let him go. The termination came after an investigation into the city’s police department.
The police chief of Belmont, Charlie Franklin, is fighting a decision by the city manager to let him go. The termination came after an investigation into the city’s police department. ogaines@charlotteobserver.com

The police chief of Belmont is fighting a decision by the city manager to let him go. The termination came after an investigation into the city’s police department.

According to City Manager Barry Webb, Police Chief Charlie Franklin was suspended on April 10. A week later, he was given a notice of termination based on issues “related to unsatisfactory job performance and detrimental personal conduct.”

In response, Webb says, Franklin turned in a notice of appeal. This means Franklin will have a formal removal proceeding with the City Council, who will make the final decision about the termination.

Franklin will remain on paid suspension until that proceeding. No date has been set.

Webb said that Franklin’s suspension was “intended to allow (Franklin) time to review the portion of the investigation report related to him.”

City officials hired an outside company to investigate the police department in 2014 for what the city manager called “conduct and management” issues.

Webb told WBTV Wednesday that no other officials were suspended due to the investigation, but a second in command did resign.

He said the review did not find any laws were broken.

A lieutenant with the police department was named as acting chief during Franklin’s suspension.

Former employees of Belmont Police told WBTV the department has an atmosphere of “fear, mistrust, in some ways – harassment.”

Workers said there’s bullying, harassment, name calling, questionable promotions, and falsifying time sheets.

The city manager said they first learned about the allegations of misconduct at the police department in late September.

At the time, Franklin told WBTV the investigation “caught him off guard,” but that he still couldn’t comment until it was over.

Franklin declined an on-camera interview Wednesday morning, saying “I am on paid suspension at this point and still not allowed to comment since I am still an employee of the City of Belmont.”

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