Winston-Salem council: No evidence of misconduct in sanitation department

The Winston-Salem Council voted unanimously tonight to adopt a resolution stating that the city manager and city attorney found no evidence to substantiate allegations of forgery, perjury, unaddressed incidents of sexual harassment, failure to respond in a timely manner to a medical situation and retaliation in the sanitation department.

The statement was issued in response to remarks made by several current and former employees to council in a public comment period during a Feb. 18 meeting.

The formal statement indicated that council was prohibited due to state personnel privacy law and a federal healthcare privacy law from disclosing additional information, but directed the city manager to try to obtain written authorizations from affected employees so that additional details of the investigation could be released at a later time.

"We are very willing and anxious to provide the information," Mayor Allen Joines said. "We take those allegations very seriously."

The city council met twice in closed session to discuss the matter.

"We did a thorough investigation," City Manager Lee Garrity said after the vote. "It did take several interviews. This all had to be reviewed by the city attorney. The city council members had questions. And then we had to determine what the city council could and couldn't release."

Victor Bethea, a sanitation laborer who was among the current and former employees who addressed council in February, declined to comment tonight on council's formal statement.

Bethea explained to council members how he had been implicated in the firing of another employee, Angelia Byrd, the driver for his crew.

"In reference to Ms. Byrd I was the person that they forged his name on false accusations about her that I did not state or did not write a statement to," Bethea said during the Feb. 18 city council meeting.

Garrity told YES! Weekly in late March that no forgery occurred, and that the matter had arose because of confusion on the part of Deputy Sanitation Director Randy Britton during a hearing for Byrd to appeal her termination.

Donald Gore, a sanitation driver who complained that he had suffered a minor stroke after driving a truck that lacked air conditioning on a hot summer day, also declined to comment this evening.

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