NEWPORT - The Cocke County fire chief has been fired during a federal investigation into harassment and workplace violence, according to a release from the Cocke County mayor's office.
Mayor Crystal Ottinger said she was notified in February of a Federal Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) investigation into the fire department. There were accusations of sexual harassment, workplace violence, and other harassment at the department.
Ottinger said she met with Chief William Smallwood about the investigation, and told him there should be no further incidents under his command.
After that, Ottinger said there were two retaliatory incidents within the department, one of them involving Smallwood.
The mayor said she gave Smallwood several choices of corrective action, including a written reprimand, but Smallwood refused, resulting in his termination.
"Providing fire protection for the citizens of Cocke County in a professional and ethical manner is and always will be the top priority of the Cocke County Fire Department," Ottinger said.
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