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Police Chief Files Complaint in Taylor Mill Over "Toxic, Hostile Work Environment"

Taylor Mill Police Chief Steve Knauf filed a complaint with the city over what he called a toxic, hostile work environment.

The move follows an extraordinary meeting of the city commission last week in which Knauf declined to accept the interim city adminsitrator position, said that he did not trust commissioners Sarah Frietch and Phil Peace, and blamed the pair for the departure of longtime city administrator Jill Bailey, who took the same job in Fort Wright.

"I am trying to get some relief for everybody," Knauf told The River City News after a special meeting of the city commission Tuesday night. "(Bailey) will have to file it with the insurance company. They might try to mediate, I don't know." He paused. "I want some civility. We had that for years. There is a sign above a field around here that has a picture of Abraham Lincoln, and a quote that says, A house divided cannot stand. Civility."

The emails and response from Bailey were detailed in an internal city memo written by Bailey and obtained by The River City News through an open records request.

A special meeting was held Tuesday so that the city commission could change its liaisons to various departments. The move comes after Bailey and Knauf raised concerns about emails from Frietch, who was the liaison to the police department, accusing her of micromanaging and overstepping, as well as embarrasing both Knauf and Bailey in front of subordinate staff.

Commissioner Mark Kreimborg will now serve as the police department's liaison and Frietch will work with the parks and recreation department.

Following the meeting, Peace expressed his own concerns, saying that he was glad the special meeting was short and uneventful.

"It was a dog and pony show," Peace said, referring to last week's meeting. "They love drama. Truthfully this has always been going on, and is just now being exposed."

Peace said he hadn't hardly spoken ten words to Chief Knauf in the last year, and didn't like when the chief turned on him in last week's meeting.

Mayor Dan Bell will serve as interim city administrator until the city commission can hire a permanent replacement for Bailey.

The city will work with the Northern Kentucky Area Development District in its search.

Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor