Mayor says safety concerns at Metro Public Works will be addressed

(Photo: WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – News 2 has uncovered why the man in charge of keeping hundreds of Nashville employees was fired after just three months on the job.

The city hired a safety manager after a 19-year-old Metro Public Works employee was killed last year.

The first time Chandler Harris showed up for work at Metro’s sanitation department, he died. He was riding on the back of a garbage truck when he fell off and was run over two times.

A state report showed Harris hadn’t been properly trained and the driver suffered hearing loss, so he couldn’t hear when the employee tried to stop him.

Chandler Harris (Courtesy: Justice for Chandler Harris/Facebook)
Chandler Harris (Courtesy: Justice for Chandler Harris/Facebook)

MORE: Read the full report by the State of Tennessee

Since then, Metro Public Works says it has overhauled its safety program, but the former safety manager’s personnel report shows there may be some concern over safety across the department.

The file belongs to David Bailey, who was hired to be the safety manager in April and fired three months later.

In that role, Bailey was paramount in keeping employees and citizens safe.

But during a training class last month, the report shows he made a “lewd” comment about a “male sex organ.”

An investigation was then opened and witnesses “expressed concern” over his “lack of attentiveness.” Another witness said Bailey didn’t do “any” site visits for the three months he was there.

And as of this week, Mayor Megan Barry has appointed Mark Sturtevant to be the new interim Public Works director.

News 2 showed the mayor Bailey’s personnel file and asked how safety will be addressed moving forward.

Megan Barry (Photo: WKRN)
Megan Barry (Photo: WKRN)

“Quite frankly, safety is paramount for our citizens and for the people who work for Metro,” she said.

“These are good questions to be asked and I expect Mark to answer them for me,” Mayor Barry added.

The mayor says she, too, is responsible in making sure another death never happens again.

“When Chandler died, it was a huge tragedy, and horrible for his family, and it is my responsibility as the mayor of this city to make sure that never happens again, and that means making sure our employees are safe. I expect that Mark will absolutely make that happen,” she explained.

News 2 reached out to the witnesses in the report, who are all Metro employees. We have yet to hear back.

News 2 also tried to contact David Bailey but couldn’t find a phone number or Facebook page listed under his name.

In addition to addressing safety, the main thing the new Public Works director will be doing is focusing on transportation. As the city grows, Nashville may need its own transportation department, but the mayor says safety will be a part of that restructuring.

Previous Stories:
Metro Public Works employee killed by downtown garbage truck
State report critical of Metro Public Works after sanitation worker’s death
After Public Works employee’s death, safety manager is hired–then fired

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