SPRINGFIELD, Ore. — City mangers say former Police Chief Jerry Smith was pushed into early retirement after a photo surfaced of Smith kissing another city employee.
City Manager Gino Grimaldi says the photo dates back to before Smith’s retirement. He says it’s against city policy for an employee to have a relationship with someone who they work above.
“That’s an inappropriate relationship to have because you have somebody who has power over the employee that they’re having a relationship with and that’s untenable,” Grimaldi said.
The city manager found out about Smith’s alleged relationship when an anonymous person sent the picture to the city offices.
“The picture came through somebody in the department, it was emailed to them and was brought to the attention of the human resources department, who brought it to my attention and then the events unfolded,” Grimaldi said.
The anonymous person then sent a 45 minute video of the couple to Grimaldi, a city councilor and the Department of Police Standards in Salem.
After the picture and video surfaced, Gramaldi says he told Smith there would be an investigation into the relationship. Smith decided to leave before possibly getting fired.
Due to the circumstances of the departure, Smith did not receive pay for unused vacation days accrued during his 43 years of service.
“He didn’t get the normal payout that a retiree would get, so there were some financial consequences as a result of the way he left,” Grimaldi said.
Even though Smith left on such terms, the city manager hopes community members don’t let the news of this spoil the larger picture, one built over 43 years.
“You know he made many fantastic contributions to this community and I know I won’t forget those and I thank him for what he gave to the community unfortunately at the end of his career he made a mistake,” Grimaldi said.