Wharton goes off on 'Men NOT At Work' - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Wharton goes off on 'Men NOT At Work'

(WMC TV) - Mayor AC Wharton called out two former city code inspectors as "cheats" in the wake of an Action News 5 investigation that cost the inspectors their jobs and sullied the reputation of the code enforcement division.

"The two guys who are going to goof off, mess up, cheat repeatedly get the attention, and tragically, that's the picture that's painted," said Wharton.

Tuesday, city human resources officials confirmed former code inspectors Burnie Mitchell and John Finley exercised their civil service rights and appealed their terminations on charges of neglect of duty, not responding to assignments and refusing to perform reasonable work assignments.

Wharton made his comments after awarding another code inspector a key to the city.

The mayor praised Inspector Moses Adams for assisting a 6-year-old girl the week of Aug. 13. While patrolling his South Memphis territory, Adams found the girl crying alone near the intersection of Mississippi Blvd. and Crump Blvd, according to city officials.

City officials said the girls' parents had dropped her off at an unnamed after-care facility, but she walked away from the facility unnoticed. They said Adams reunited her with her parents, and agents of the state's child protective services are investigating.

Adams said he hoped his example would inspire code enforcement's rank-and-file to help repair the damage done by Mitchell and Finley.

"They're already motivated on a daily basis to come to work and show up on time and see if we can change this black eye that we have received based on the other two inspectors' actions," Adams said.

Mitchell and Finley lost their jobs after The Action News 5 Investigators caught them on hidden camera for days, hiding out in their city vehicles at a secluded dead end street in Frayser. Each day, they sat for hours doing nothing, while blighted properties as close as a mile away remained eyesores despite several citizens' complaints (for our original coverage, please click here and here).

The investigation left Wharton and Gilliom with no choice but to reorganize the code enforcement division.

Gilliom said he will eliminate the senior inspector position. He said the position will be replaced with a mid-management level of three supervisors.

The public works division will also invest $20,000 in hardware to install computer technology in every code enforcement vehicle to track inspectors' whereabouts, activity and safety.

"I wish we did not have to do that, but I can't sit around here and let people cheat," Wharton said.

Jill Madajczyk, the city's deputy director of human resources, said Mitchell and Finley's appeal will be set for a hearing within 60 days.

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