March 6, 2013 10:42:51 AM
A Town of Caledonia employee has filed a sexual harassment complaint against a candidate for the board of aldermen, sources confirmed this morning.
New town clerk Krista Hill allegedly filed the complaint against William Darnell, who is running at-large in the June 4 municipal election. Darnell is the nephew of current alderman Bill Darnell.
Mayor George Gerhart refused to release a copy of the complaint -- which was allegedly given to other members of the media -- after consulting with Town Attorney Jeff Smith and Deputy Marshal John Peavey, who is handling the investigation. Gerhart did not reveal who was involved in the complaint, but he confirmed this morning that Hill did not make the accusation against a town employee.
He said he had been ordered by Smith not to talk about the incident.
Smith advised the board of aldermen during Tuesday night's monthly meeting to post a workplace environment policy this week and notify insurance carriers of the complaint. It will also be reported to the Mississippi Municipal League.
Hill, the granddaughter of former town clerk Judy Whitcomb, replaced Whitcomb Feb. 1 following Whitcomb's retirement. She had been filling in as assistant town clerk since November at a rate of $10 per hour.
She is slated to remain in the clerk's position until August, following the town's municipal election.
Gerhart announced last week that he would not seek reelection.
The board of aldermen will hold a meeting March 16 at 8:30 a.m. to discuss the complaint. Much of the meeting is expected to take place in executive session as it involves both a personnel and legal issue.
Dispatch reporter Sarah Fowler contributed to this story.
Carmen K. Sisson is news editor at The Dispatch.
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