Middletown City Manager Doug Adkins gave the city council details this week about police interaction with the homeless after the issue received more attention this month.
Since the Oct. 1 meeting at which the issue was raised, Adkins said Middletown police patrols located 16 homeless people in the city from Oct. 3-12. He said one was in the downtown business district and none were in the South Main Street Historic District.
Of the 16 people found, eight were from Middletown and there was one each from Oxford, Trenton, Cincinnati, Dayton and Lexington, Ky. Three people did not disclose where they were from. Five were charged with crimes that included trespassing, obstructing official business, criminal mischief and drug abuse/meth. Two others were trespassed off the property where they were found.
Adkins said of the 28,506 calls for service for police between Jan. 1 and Sept. 30, 46 were for homeless issues, including 17 in the downtown business and South Main Historic districts.
He said downtown businesses and South Main Street residents are forwarding information to police and that he will update progress at all council meetings.
Adkins also formally apologized for his public outburst at a downtown coffee shop during Tuesday’s City Council meeting.
The incident happened Oct. 2 at the Triple Moon Coffee Company as Adkins was getting coffee and asked morning manager Renae Theiss how long the latest homelessness issue had been happening. Theiss was one of 14 residents or business people who spoke at a heavily attended council meeting the night before to seek assistance with the issue.
She sent an email to council members that said Adkins “proceeded to state very animatedly that he knew nothing about this problem until he read the post (police) Chief (Rodney Muterspaw) made on the subject last week.” Adkins also told her that he was told Councilwoman Ami Vitori and the downtown business owners were “taking care of it.” He told her that he had no idea there were any problems.
Muterspaw, whose last day as police chief was Oct. 4, wrote a social media post on Sept. 24 about the homelessness issue in the city. At the time of the post, Adkins was on vacation.
During his two-minute apology, Adkins said he had apologized to Theiss and Heather Gibson, owner of the Triple Moon, and that both accepted his apology. He said he lost his temper and did not act gracefully or professionally.
In his apology, Adkins said he did not live up to the “Middletown Way” standard that he set for city employees on how they should act in public when representing the city. He also said he has apologized to city staff.
“I apologize for my behavior,” Adkins said. “You know my work as city manager has been my passion but in this case, my passion bled over to frustration which led to an unfortunate tirade on my part and I am very sorry for the outburst.”
Adkins added that he was sorry for the outburst because it became a campaign issue this election cycle and has distracted from the positive achievements the city has made.
“I take full responsibility for the incident and I will take my punishment,” he said.
He added, “You have a right to expect better conduct. I’m sorry my behavior has created a blemish on the city’s reputation in the region. I have no excuse for losing my temper and I’m sorry. It won’t happen again.”
Following a 45-minute executive session to discuss personnel, council voted unanimously to approve the one-day suspension for Adkins.
Prior to the suspension vote, Vice Mayor Tal Moon said he was “embarrassed” on how this impacted the downtown coffee shop and took time to make an apology to Gibson and Theiss. He also said he spoke with Adkins about the incident.
“This sort of outburst, no matter the cause, is unacceptable,” Moon said. “People who are elected or appointed to serve this community are held to a higher standard.”
Mayor Larry Mulligan Jr. said Adkins’ conduct at the Triple Moon was “unprofessional” and that based on the city’s progressive disciplinary procedure, the one-day suspension and public apology “was the best course of action.” Mulligan added that Adkins’s work for the past five years as city manager was taken into account when council was determining his discipline.
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