Simpsonville City Council discusses Grounsell contract terms - WDAM - TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports

Simpsonville City Council discusses Grounsell contract terms

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Councilman Gooch spoke about the police chief compensation on Tuesday. (FOX Carolina) Councilman Gooch spoke about the police chief compensation on Tuesday. (FOX Carolina)
SIMPSONVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) -

City leaders in Simpsonville decided not to vote Tuesday evening, but instead to let lawyers handle contract negotiations for recently reinstated police chief, Keith Grounsell.

At the city council meeting, council members discussed in detail a proposed seven-year contract for Grounsell, which includes a raise, back pay and other benefits. Specifically, the contract asks for a pay raise, taking Grounsell's salary up to $90,000 a year.

It also asks for more than $112,000 in back pay, reimbursement for one college course per semester and lists specific ways in which the police chief can and cannot be disciplined or discharged.

The meeting was at near capacity, with both Grounsell supporters and those against the demands.

When discussing how to free up money to meet Grounsell's demands, mayor Eichor proposed reducing the council's salaries by 50 percent. Councilwoman Geneva Lawrence was quick to point out that Mayor Eichor and those in favor of the pay cut would no longer be in office when the pay cut would take effect. The idea was shot down in a vote of 4-3.

The council also said the cut in their pay would not make much of a difference.

Councilman Matthew Gooch, who voted against reinstating Grounsell, called the proposed terms "ridiculous," and said there is not enough money in the city's budget to grant his requests. In a PowerPoint presentation, Gooch estimated that if the contract were granted as-is, it would cost the city more than $1.3 million over the 7-year term.

Grounsell was fired in December 2012, and recently fought to be reinstated. Council voted 4-3 to grant that reinstatement.

Councilwoman Lockaby argued that ever since Grounsell was fired, the city has had a lawsuit hanging over its head, and that the council has been trying to find a way to fix that without it ending up in court.

At the end of the meeting, Grounsell told FOX Carolina he had not seen the contract that was being discussed and he too will leave negotiations up to his lawyer and the city's attorney.

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