Wharton says undercover officers used to infiltrate city offices

(WMC-TV) - Memphis Mayor A C Wharton revealed undercover officers were used to keep tabs on city employees.

Wednesday, Wharton announced a new hotline for employees to "blow the whistle" on illegal or unethical activity.

He also revealed that undercover officer working within the city's impound lot helped confirm suspicion of wrongdoing there.  Others kept tabs on potentially illegal activity inside Memphis Animal Services, where arrests were recently made.

"I will say, in the instances that we've done it, every time we come up with something, we have never come up empty," said Wharton.

Chad Johnson, executive director of the municipal employees union, said he believes effective management could root out wrongdoing without undermining employees.

"Making sure employees feel comfortable speaking up, speaking up when they see something wrong directly," said Johnson.  "There's no need for undercover operations or to plant someone else in."

The mayor claimed no employee has complained so far.

"The employees who are coming to work and doing their job, they have absolutely nothing to fear," said Wharton.

Wharton would not rule out using undercover officers again if necessary.

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