Vanderburgh Co. EMA director abruptly resigns - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Mayor says EMA Director resigned after review found "disturbing practices"

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There are new development sudden resignation of Vanderburgh County EMA Director Sherman Greer.

Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke tells 14 News he asked Greer to step down Monday morning after his weekly meeting with department heads. 

It was just last week that 14 News interviewed Greer inside his office. It's what he said before the cameras started rolling that confirms he was taken by surprise.

As 14 News was setting up for that interview last Wednesday, the conversation off camera focused on Greer's future. He said he just recently turned 65, has 23 years of service as director until his belt, and hoped to be in that position for several more years. He even told us about some new technology for the county's storm sirens he was hoping to install next year.

"That may be expensive to do, but we're going to approach it I think in 14," Greer said.

But any plans Greer had for that department suddenly changed Monday morning when Mayor Winnecke asked Greer to stick around after the weekly department head meeting.

"I'd reached the conclusion that I did not have the trust in him any longer to carry out the role that he had," Mayor Winnecke said.

Mayor Winnecke says two disturbing practices were uncovered two weeks ago during budget meetings- the unauthorized purchase of a vehicle for his department and an issue involving overtime with the agency's office manager.

"In fact, he said in his own words, 'I know someone has neglected overtime,' and he approved it," Mayor Winnecke told 14 News. 

Winnecke says those are direct violations of city policy. Even though the EMA office is funded by both the city and county, the workers there, including Greer, are city employees and report to the mayor.  

Greer told 14 News on the phone Monday afternoon that he's worked for four different mayors and this is the first time there's been an issue.

"At the end of the day, the people that report to the mayor, they've got to have the mayor's trust and I can tell you that he'd lost my trust," Mayor Winnecke said.

The deputy director, Adam Groupe, will serve as the interm director until a new director is named.  

Here's the statement Mayor Winnecke released earlier Monday:

"Today, Sherman Greer submitted his resignation after 23 years with the City of Evansville - Vanderburgh County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) as Director. The resignation is effective immediately. We appreciate his service and wish him well on his next endeavor. During this time of transition, Deputy Director Adam Groupe will serve as the interim Director. The City of Evansville and Vanderburgh County will begin an immediate search to identify the next Director of the EMA who will continue to ensure our community is prepared for any type of emergency situation.

Sherman was asked to resign after a review of purchasing and personnel records that uncovered disturbing practices. Through his own admission of ‘neglect,' and with his knowledge, an EMA employee was allowed to accrue a large amount of compensable time without justification that resulted in a large financial liability for the City in direct violation of city policy and procedures. Also, the EMA purchased and took possession of a new truck by using monies designated for a different expenditure."
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Lloyd Winnecke, Mayor

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