Johnson, who served as police chief since January 2009, was initially suspended five days without pay for insubordination. Mayor Luther Maddox admits that he never ordered Johnson “not” to wear jeans, but advised via memo that the attire was unprofessional. The Jonesboro City Council subsequently cut that suspension to 2½ days.
Although Johnson wore his uniform from that point forward, according to the AJC Section 6 of the dress code states: “When necessary, the Chief may prescribe other types of clothing to be worn.” Eventually, the Mayor fired Johnson for not successfully completing his probationary period.
While I don’t live in Jonesboro, I know residents who do. None of the people I asked had a negative word to say about Johnson. Unfortunately until this incident, some of them had no idea who their police chief was. But all agreed that wearing jeans to work wasn’t an acceptable reason for termination if he was doing his job.
“I feel safe in my neighborhood,” says Reeta Jackson of Jonesboro. “I don’t care what he wears, as long as I’m safe.” That sentiment was echoed from those I spoke with who reside in and around Jonesboro.
Johnson plans to appeal the mayor’s decision, believing he had no right to fire him. The Jonesboro City Council will address this matter at the June 8 meeting.
What do you care about most – the attire your chief of police wears, or his job performance? Should the City Council uphold the Mayor’s decision to fire Brad Johnson?