Canton Police sergeant fired after investigation
by Erin Dentmon
edentmon@cherokeetribune.com
December 12, 2012 12:00 AM | 4346 views | 5 5 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
CANTON — Stacy Bailey, a former sergeant with the Canton Police Department and public information officer, is no longer with the department following an internal investigation into spending on a customized golf cart for the disabled son of a man with whom she allegedly had a sexual relationship.

Bailey was fired Nov. 27, according to city documents obtained by the Tribune on Tuesday.

The Marietta Police Department performed the internal investigation for the Canton Police Department. The investigation was completed Nov. 13, according to a summary of the investigation.

Canton Police Chief Robert Merchant signed off on the investigation Nov. 26 and terminated Bailey the next day.

The firing comes after Bailey was suspended with pay from the department July 18, following allegations she raised $4,050 in donations for the golf cart using funds from the department’s Explorers unit.

She has since sued the city and the police department over wage issues.

After the allegations surfaced, Canton Police Chief Robert Merchant called for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to look into the situation, as well as the internal investigation.

The GBI concluded its investigation in October, and while it found no grounds for criminal prosecution against the former police department spokesperson, the report says Bailey violated Canton Police Department policies on the code of ethics, professional image, on- and off-duty conduct, violation of rules, unbecoming conduct and truthfulness.

The city’s finance department also violated policy by not performing annual audits of the Explorer account or tracking deposits and expenditures, according to the report.

Bailey told investigators she had never seen the city’s financial policy and that, as far as she knew, the Explorers account was never audited by the city’s finance department.

In a termination memo, Merchant acknowledged a lack of oversight regarding the Explorers program.

“However, the lack of supervision or managerial oversight in no way justifies or excuses your conduct or behavior in this matter,” he wrote in the termination memo to Bailey.

Merchant said the golf cart was purchased under false pretenses because Bailey did not disclose her relationship with Jamison.

“You made a conscientious decision to use your position, influence and ability to purchase the golf cart. You misused your authority for personal gain and your conduct undermined the public’s trust in our department,” he wrote in his termination memo.

At the time of the purchase, Scott Jamison, the father of the golf cart recipient and the man with whom Bailey was allegedly having a relationship, was employed as a captain with the Sandy Springs Police Department but has since voluntarily retired.

The golf cart was purchased using $6,242.29 from the Canton Police Department’s Explorer fund. It included the purchase of a gun rack, a stereo and customized wheels.

Merchant requested that the golf cart be returned to the police department, which it was in July.

The internal investigation found that Bailey changed a bank form for the Explorers account in 2012, thus requiring only one signature for checks. She had signed a form requiring two signatures in 2006, according to the investigation.

Bailey testified to investigators that the account did not need two signers, documents show. According to the investigative summary, she said the account had several signers but that checks did not need more than one signature.

She told investigators she set up a bank account for Explorers in 2006, using the city’s tax identification number to do so. She stated that her bosses gave her the number, but could not recall who specifically gave it to her.

Bailey said all the money in the Explorers account was raised through donations, not public money, and the account was set up so she could make purchases without a purchase order.

According to the investigative summary, Bailey said Explorers had no set annual budget, and she was expected to fund Explorers and other community programs through donations.

In addition to Bailey, investigators interviewed former Canton Police Chief Jeff Lance and former Deputy Chief Todd Vandezande, as well as Melissa Whatley in regards to a donation made by the Cherokee County Service League.

Bailey told investigators she had permission from Lance to purchase the golf cart and assumed Vandezande knew about the purchase, according to the report.

According to the report, Bailey said her conversations with Jamison about the golf cart began in September 2011 at a fundraising event for the Cherokee County Service League. She met Jamison in May 2011 and began a sexual relationship with him

Bailey did not inform Lance about her relationship with Jamison when she talked about purchasing the golf cart, the report says. She said her affair with Jamison did not influence her decision to buy the golf cart, according to the investigative report.

She said the purchase of the golf cart for Jamison’s son was not just her decision, but a joint decision between her, the Explorers board, the Explorers and Lance.

According to the report, Lance, told investigators that Bailey did not have permission to make purchases without approval.

He stated that there were no formal rules and regulations for making purchases from the Explorer account, which was supported through fundraising. City policy, he said, dealt with city budget items, not fundraising accounts.

Bailey was to bring purchases from the Explorer account to Lance, according to the investigation summary. Lance did not recall signing a check for the purchase of the golf cart.

According to the investigative report, Bailey’s signature was the only one found on the checks.

Vandezande said he did not know the Explorers fund was set up under the city’s tax identification number and he did not know how the account was set up. According to the report, Vandezande said he did not know about the purchase of the golf cart and that Bailey would sometimes report directly to Lance.

Vandezande said Bailey told him she was not in a relationship with Jamison at the time of the golf cart purchase, according to the report.

Bailey, however, told investigators she did not recall such a conversation.

Bailey had been with the Canton Police Department since February 2003.

She filed suit against the police department and the city in October.

The compensation lawsuit filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia on Oct. 11 names the city, Merchant, City Manager Scott Wood and the Canton Police Department.

In the suit, Bailey alleged she was not paid overtime and other compensation owed her. The suit also claims under police department policy she should have received a 5 percent raise July 1 when she completed her master’s degree.

The suit asks for all unpaid overtime wages, liquidated damages, back pay from July 1 reflecting the increase, court costs, interest on the pay owed and any other relief the court would grant.

Jamison filed a report in June with the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office, alleging that Bailey had been making harassing phone calls to him.

Jamison said he and Bailey had a yearlong affair, which he broke off in early June after his wife of 19 years found out. He said he received between 30 and 40 calls and emails from Bailey since then, despite asking her not to contact him, and said he received a package from an unidentified Cherokee County man containing compromising photos of the two and a letter to his wife about the affair.
Comments
(5)
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Myra Bing
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December 12, 2012
Wow, what goes around comes around.
S. Cary
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December 13, 2012
Karma is a beautiful thing.
No Fair
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December 12, 2012
Boyfriend gets caught by both girlfriend and wife for being married and a cheater. Jamison (a proven liar) retaliates against Bailey and tries to save face with his wife - brings a bunch of BS to her new boss (Merchant). Chief Merchant is gung-ho to clean up corruption and make a name for himself, welcomes/believes the trash talk and initiates GBI investigation eagerly anticipating criminal charges. Unhappy that GBI clears Bailey he initiates internal investigation and desperately uncovers a technicality to fire her (not knowing it's based on a bank error). How ironic - in the memo Merchant claims, "You (Bailey) misused your authority for personal gain and your conduct undermined the public’s trust in our department." Seems like the new chief is the one out for personal gain and in the process is happy to destroy the reputation one of the best officers and an most caring members this community has ever known. It's time the media gets the whole story from BOTH sides so the TRUTH about the REAL corruption within our city can be known!
Cassidy Neal
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December 13, 2012
Kudos to Chief Merchant for initiating the investigation, and for relieving Bailey of her duties. Police officers are often judged by the actions of a few especially female officers. Her actions both on the force and off have done nothing but demean her and the Canton Police Department. She has also managed to tarnish one of the best agencies the county, the Service League, by dragging them into this whole mess. Hopefully she will have enough respect for the organization to relinquish her membership as to not embarrass them any further.
KnewItWouldHappen
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December 13, 2012
Are you serious?! "One of the best officers". What rock have you been under No Fair?
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