Updated, 9:15 p.m.
The Ocala City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to reinstate Police Chief Greg Graham, after an independent legal counsel recommended his reinstatement in a report released earlier this month.
Graham had requested to be placed on paid administrative leave until the end of an investigation into accusations from three officers of sexual harassment, hostile treatment, retaliation and discrimination in September 2016.
The city council then voted to reappoint Graham, pending the investigation, in October.
Graham had a grievance filed against him on Sept. 15 by three Ocala Police Department officers, including two female officers who accused Graham of sexual harassment and a black male officer who accused Graham of racial discrimination.
The City of Ocala contracted the law firm, Allen, Norton and Blue, P.A. of Tallahassee, to conduct an investigation, which was released to Mayor Kent Guinn on Friday, Jan. 13.
The firm released a 36-page report following its investigation. The firm determined that there was not enough evidence to conclude Graham sexually harassed or discriminated against the officers following their investigation.
The report concluded the claims were invalid because of the nature of the comments and the context of the events.
“The law firm did a good job and I agree with the investigation that came out favorable for Chief Graham,” Guinn said prior to the vote.
Although the council voted unanimously to reinstate Guinn, councilwoman Mary Rich motioned for a 30-day suspension without pay as further punishment against the police chief.
“I wanted some sort of sanction but I guess by the law and the rules I couldn’t get that today,” Rich said. “It was 3-2 that he not be sanctioned, but I don’t think our Chief of Police should be in Washington out with his employees getting drunk, going in the bathroom with a female or all of the stuff he did. I don’t think we want that picture of our Chief of Police.”
Mayor Guinn said he considers the matter now over and done with and expects Graham to return to work immediately.
“This is over with, we’ve got other things we need to move on to and do,” Guinn said. “Hopefully he’s headed over there right now.”
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.