Fired Upstate police chief alleges affair between fire chief, as - - Columbia, South Carolina

Fired Upstate police chief alleges affair between fire chief, asst. chief

Assistant Chief Colleen O’Neil and Fire Chief Wesley Williams (Source: WYFF) Assistant Chief Colleen O’Neil and Fire Chief Wesley Williams (Source: WYFF)

SIMPSONVILLE, S.C. (WYFF) - An Upstate police chief who was fired last week says he lost his job because he wanted to discipline his assistant chief because of an alleged romantic relationship she had with the fire chief.

Simpsonville Police Chief Keith Grounsell was fired last Friday.

On Monday, Mayor Perry Eichor confirmed that Simpsonville Assistant Police Chief Colleen O'Neil and Fire Chief Wesley Williams have been suspended.

Eichor would not elaborate on what led to the firing or the suspensions, but Grounsell said it is all connection to the alleged affair.

The former police chief says he gave City Administrator Russ Hawes a 50-page packet of alleged violations and insubordinations by O'Neil.

Grounsell says, "He blew me off." 

The most serious infraction, according to Grounsell, was an inappropriate relationship between O'Neil and Williams, one that he says was considered "a violation of the romantic relationship policy"

Grounsell said there is photographic evidence of the alleged relationship.

The official word from the city is that Grounsell was fired after his performance was reviewed and officials found he wasn't a good fit.

Grounsell, who was hired in September, was fired after a 5-2 vote by city council at a special meeting on Friday.

Grounsell said after he was hired he was required to attend a six-week program in Columbia to get re-certified in law enforcement training because his current credentials were about to expire. Grounsell said he received his certification Dec. 21.

Grounsell says he was never given a written reprimand or performance review.

Grounsell said he was told he was let go because he failed to follow probationary standards, but he said when asked the mayor what rules he had violated, Eichor would not tell him.

Grounsell said he thinks he was fired because he was told by city management to overlook violations by O'Neil and he refused to do so.

The council appointed Lt. Steve Moore as acting chief.

Eichor said the City Council will meet in executive session to discuss the situation Tuesday evening.

In the meantime, Grounsell filed a wrongful termination grievance at City Hall on Monday.

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