The Loudon County Ethics Committee on Monday asked county attorney Bob Bowman to investigate if Loudon County Juvenile Director Kevin Curbow violated the county ethics policy.
Committee members examined an incident, including officer body cam footage, from late June at McGhee Square Apartments in which Curbow, along with two others, interacted while intoxicated with Lenoir City Police.
An apartment manager called 911 and banned Curbow from the premises after the trio allegedly refused to abide by a night curfew.
Committee members Kelly Littleton-Brewster and Matthew Tinker motioned and seconded, respectively, to seek a legal opinion from Bowman. The vote passed 3-0. Committee member Eddie Simpson was absent.
The panel consists of five seats, with others being held by Bill Satterfield and vacant spot that could soon be filled by Scott Newman.
Committee members wondered if an ethical violation had occurred involving a juvenile Curbow interacted with previously at the juvenile center.
“We need to know for sure if he committed an ethical violation and we’ll use our attorney to look at the laws and look at the statutes to see if in fact he did,” Tinker said. “If he didn’t, that’s what he’ll tell us. If he did, he’ll tell us that and then we’ll recommend some sort of disciplinary action after that. But I think it’s only fair to Mr. Curbow to have the attorney look at it because neither Kelly, me or Mr. Satterfield are attorneys, so we don’t have all the information to make that decision.
“... The part about mentioning another child while out in public, if he’s acting inappropriately, that’s why I asked if that sort of thing was in his contract or is understood under his ethical rules,” he added. “If it is, then that’s a problem. If it isn’t, it’s up to his boss to handle that situation.”
Loudon County General Sessions Court Judge Rex Dale, Curbow’s supervisor, was present during Monday’s meeting. Dale said he has since disciplined Curbow by requiring he abide by the apartment complex ban and apologize to the property’s manager in early July. Dale said Curbow has no prior incidents on his record.
Curbow was not present Monday. He said Tuesday morning he was not made aware of the meeting.
“I’ve been employed here, it’ll be 15 years in September, never had one complaint against me,” Curbow said. “I did apologize to management for anything that happened over there that evening. I’m willing to abide by anything the ethics committee and the supervisor decide on.”
Bowman said he plans to investigate and will have a letter ready with a recommendation, if needed, to send back to the committee.
“It’s very disturbing on the police body cam footage that he kind of made reference to his position and the phone calls he would make about the situation,” Littleton-Brewster said. “The thing that really upset me more was the fact that he had a casual conversation about a juvenile and some of the aspects, and as a teacher, I know how wrong it is to get out and discuss students.”
Littleton-Brewster said during the incident Curbow did say he would call Lenoir City Police Chief Don White.
During the meeting, Bowman referenced county policy.
“An official or employee may not use or authorize the use of county time, facilities, equipment or supplies for private gain advantage to himself as a member of any group with which the official or employee is affiliated,” Bowman said. “County time, facilities, equipment and supplies are to be used only for the benefit of the county. So that’s what the policy says and I don’t know whether you can infer him identifying himself as with juvenile services if that falls — if that’s in violation of that paragraph.”
If Bowman believes an ethical violation occurred, Tinker said the matter would then revert to Dale.
“He’s kind of dealt with it in one aspect, but ethically it would go back to him because he said he has not addressed the ethical issue,” Tinker said.
Dale said he had not seen the police body cam footage.
“I would be very, very, very disappointed if Judge Dale, if that’s all he was going to do,” Satterfield said during the meeting. “If he didn’t look into the rest of the tape and all he could come up with is, ‘Don’t do that again.’ I think it really undermines his ability to do his job.”