3rd NC town official reprimanded over social media posts

Lt. Rene Trevino (LinkedIn/WECT)

CHADBOURN, N.C. (WECT) – Less than two weeks into the job as police chief of Chadbourn, Rene Trevino says he has been suspended.

Trevino says he was surprised to be informed Saturday morning of the punishment, but says he has yet to receive anything in writing. Trevino says he was told this has to do with his use of social media.

RELATED: NC councilman apologizes for Facebook post some considered racist

“There was nothing wrong with it other than someone got on my Facebook and printed off pictures of jokes. They took it to heart and now I’m suspended,” Rene Trevino said by phone Monday.

Trevino just took over the department this month, replacing former chief Darrell Trivette. Trivette quit after less than a year-and-a-half on the job, stating that he felt he had “limited control, but full accountability” of the department.

At this point, there’s no indication how long this suspension will last. Trevino says interim Town Manager Pat Garrell has not returned his calls. WECT also has a message out to Garrell for more information.

When reached Monday, Mayor Phillip Britt wouldn’t confirm the chief’s suspension based on advice from the town attorney. Employment status of public employees is a matter of public record in the state of North Carolina.

“It’s a personnel issue, and I can’t make a comment,” Mayor Phillip Britt said.

In September, the town fired an officer for comments he made on Facebook. Town council followed that with the passage of a social media policy for all town employees in November.

RELATED: NC police officer fired following backlash over Facebook post

Trevino says he has since deleted his Facebook account but says per the policy this punishment seems to have gone too far.

“I should have just been orally reprimanded from the start and not suspended,” Trevino said. Trevino understands town officials are “reviewing something on Tuesday” in relation to this situation. There is no notice of a public meeting mentioned on the town website at this point.

Lt. Brian Anderson, the second in command in the department, is overseeing the department during this suspension, according to Trevino.

Copyright 2017 WECT. All rights reserved.

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