EAST ST. LOUIS Two days after being appointed East St. Louis’ interim city manager, Calvin Riley began firing key city employees, including high-ranking police department and code enforcement officials. Among them was Police Chief Kendall Perry. Perry said he learned of his dismissal from the photograph of a letter that he received by text on Jan. 18. Otherwise, he says, he has not spoken to either Riley or East St. Louis Mayor Robert Eastern III about losing his job.
The reason for Perry’s firing, the letter says, is “insubordination,” but Perry and others say they lost their jobs because they won’t pledge their support for Eastern’s reelection on April’s consolidated ballot. Eastern is being challenged by community activist Marie Franklin. ”I had heard from various sources that the mayor and Councilman Tommy Dancy have been trying to do this for a while,” Perry said. “We have a job to do to protect the city. It shouldn’t have anything to do with politics.”
Public Works Director Tim Lockett, Assistant Chief Randadore Fogg, and code enforcement officer Harry Hollingsworth also have been fired. Perry also named other leaders in other city departments who left their jobs voluntarily because of the “hostile work environment.” Eastern has so far declined to confirm the firings or resignations because he says he cannot discuss personnel matters. He also would not address the personal allegations regarding his reelection campaign. Riley became verbally hostile with a veteran News-Democrat reporter in his refusal to provide the public information that was requested. Subsequent attempts to reach him at his city-issued phone number were not successful.
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