A General Sessions Judge, Part I candidate was asked to resign or be fired while working for the Smyrna Police Department in 2009.
W. Kevin Hodges, who is running as a Republican against Independent Ben Hall McFarlin, had numerous complaints filed against him by superiors.
Hodges worked at the Smyrna Police Department as a detective from 1996–2009. Prior to that he was a United States Navy submarine service work center supervisor from 1985–1994. He is a graduate of the Nashville School of Law and a practicing attorney in Smyrna.
The complaints filed against Hodges included: leaving an inexperienced officer at the hospital to deal with a rape case while he was working out at a gym; records also show he had an exorbitant amount of personal minutes on his work cell phone; his work vehicle was seen parked at Flex Gym; records also show he had about 50 cases with very little work done on them; another situation shows a volatile temper and that he was supposed to receive anger management counseling.
Hodges did not respond to phone messages left at his office, but he did respond via email to The Post.
“It is unfortunate that even in the judicial races there are those that desire to bring forth the ugliest side of politics. When the issues become secondary behind personal attacks, it is the citizens at large that are damaged the most because many would rather those running for office refrain from negative advertising. In the current times there is also unfettered access for anyone with a computer to attack others in the public arena more than ever before. As I have stated at the beginning of my campaign, I will run a clean campaign that focuses on the issues and the positive changes we believe can be made to improve the court system in Rutherford County. Further degradation into creating more headlines is not what is best for our community and we will continue speaking to as many fellow citizens as possible until Election Day.”
Upon his firing, Hodges filed for unemployment benefits. The following questions were sent to the Smyrna Police on July 15, 2009 by the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development Division of Employment Security UI Claims Center.
1. Was the claimant discharged for unsatisfactory job performance? No. He was given the option of resigning. The employee chose to resign in lieu of termination. Otherwise he would have been terminated for a combination of continued poor job performance and his disciplinary action history.
2. Describe the final incident that led to the discharge. While on a performance improvement plan, Mr. Hodges neglected his duties as a detective by leaving an untrained police officer in charge of handling a rape case so Mr. Hodges could go work out at the gym. He also neglected to follow-up on the case to see it completed.
3. What were the standards expected on the claimant? To perform the duties of a detective which would have been to have remained at the scene to interview the rape victim and coordinate the processing of the rape test. He should have spoken with the victim before leaving the scene and actually conducted a timely follow-up investigation.
4. Did the claimant ever meet the standards? Yes.
5. Did the claimant make any attempt to conform to the standards? Mr. Hodges was placed on a performance improvement plan following his last annual evaluation of 4/16/09. He was given clear examples of how to improve his performance. Little to no improvement had been seen up to the time of his resignation. He continued to neglect his responsibilities.
6. Were there previous warnings for failure to meet the standards? Yes.
7. If yes, provide dates, reasons, types of warning, and who issued the warnings. On numerous occasions, Mr. Hodges was informally warned by his peers and supervisors about his neglect of duties. See attached for actual documented warnings.
The election will be held on Aug. 7. Early voting begins Friday and runs through Aug. 2.