City Employees Speak Out Against Coates' Resignation

By: Jon Hardison
By: Jon Hardison

Some Bowling Green City employees are upset with the decision to force City Manager Chuck Coates out of office, and they're giving the Mayor and City Commission an earful.

Coates was asked to resign last week for "failures in management" in the wake of an embezzlement scandal involving the city's Chief Financial Officer.

In a letter addressed to mayor Elaine Walker, a group of "concerned city employees" says in part:

"Change for the sake of change accomplishes
nothing. Asking us to function without a city
manager whom we so desperately need is
just asking too much. We fear that the city
of Bowling Green will suffer greatly because
he is not being allowed to guide us through
this difficult time.You will soon realize that you needed him...
for his leadership and respect that he
EARNED from the employees."

Mayor Walker says she understands the employees' frustration, and she and other commissioners have met with almost every city department in the past week to address their concerns.

"One of the things I heard was the question of trust. They have not worked with us for more than 3 months, and clearly that's not a long enough time to really understand who we are and how we feel about them. So it is going to take time," Walker said.

"I truly believe we have the finest city employees anywhere. And that ultimately is why the city will have a little bit of a tough time these next several months, but this city will get through because we have very solid employees who are dedicated to the job that they do, dedicated to doing their best and they will carry the ball."

Late Friday, WBKO received a statement from another anonymous city employee with very different thoughts.

That statement read, in part:

"Mr. Coates should have cared enough for
the citizens and employees of the City to
submit his resignation on his own accord.
Most of us realize that it is ridiculous to say
that Mr. Coates should not be held
accountable for the millions that were stolen
under his management."

WBKO normally does not broadcast anonymous statements without verifying their source. But after conversations with several city employees who would rather remain anonymous, it is clear that these letters do represent 2 different camps that exist.


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