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Police chief warned Royalty of ‘shit storm’ from police restructuring plan

By JIM BROOKS
Nelson County Gazette / WBRT Radio

Friday, April 15, 2016, 5 p.m. — Bardstown Police Chief Rick McCubbin learned of his department’s restructuring in an email he received in late March while recuperating at home from surgery.

In his email response to the mayor, McCubbin expressed his dismay at being blindsided by changes he had no knowledge of — changes he said  circumvent a promotion plan McCubbin had created and Royalty had previously approved.

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CHIEF RICK MCCUBBIN

In his email to Royalty, McCubbin noted that Royalty did not return his repeated phone calls in an effort to discuss the restructuring. In the email, he asked the mayor to rescind the restructuring directive until the two could meet to discuss it face-to-face.

“To say that a ‘shit storm’ will be created by this directive is putting it mildly,” McCubbin wrote.

McCubbin said he was unhappy “with the disrespect and unprofessionalism displayed toward me as chief” by the mayor’s decision to restructure the police department without involving him. He wrote it was apparent he was also excluded from discussions about the department by some of his officers.

McCubbin said the directive leaves him as “nothing more than a figure head,” and the mayor’s actions “illustrated that a chief is not necessary to run the department.”

After voicing his displeasure with the plan and how he learned of it, McCubbin promises to implement the plan if Royalty insisted on it, though he suggested the mayor be the person to debrief the police department about the plan and his reasons.

“I do not want to leave the department in shambles … I will not abandon my duties as chief but I am in the dark as any of our officers about this directive.

“Since I have been excluded from these decisions and have absolutely no idea what to tell the men and woman of BPD I will certainly yield to you,” he wrote.

McCubbin told Royalty that with the proposed restructuring, “it will fall upon my shoulders to attempt to right a sinking ship.”

CITY COUNCIL BLINDSIDED. Royalty told the Bardstown City Council Tuesday that his decision was an administrative one, and that by law he was within his right to make the changes he believed were best. When Councilwoman Kecia Copeland began asking questions Tuesday about the restructuring — specifically if McCubbin was on board with the changes — Royalty said Copeland was out of order because the changes were administrative. “I’m shutting this down right now,” he said.

RESTRUCTURING DETAILS. The administrative changes the mayor announced Tuesday include the promotion of McKenzie Mattingly to the rank of captain and naming him as the department’s next assistant police chief.

Brad Gillock is also being promoted to the rank of lieutenant. The changes are effective April 24.

Major Ray Lewis, McCubbin’s current assistant chief, will retire in May. The mayor also demoted Capt. Tom Roby and Lt. Chris Brandon to patrolman. Roby has moved his retirement date from July 31 to April 24.

The restructuring includes creation of four sergeant positions who will serve in supervisory roles. They will replace the current designation of the most senior officer on the shift being named as the “officer in charge.”

The need to establish the new sergeant positions was discussed in earlier council safety committee meetings and were recommended by Kentucky League of City guidelines.

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