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UPDATE: St. Martinville city employees suspended, polygraph tests ordered

UPDATE: Public Works Superintendent Charles Rader and his employee Michael Martin have been suspended for two days without pay following a special meeting on the altercation between the two.

That incident happened two weeks ago at the public works barn.

Monday night, Rader was present with his attorney. He says employees at the barn tend to use foul language. He says he met with Martin to discuss overtime issues. That’s when he claims Martin got heated.

Martin claims Rader used racial slurs during the meeting…calling him the n-word. Rader says that’s not true. Martin also says that Rader is a good pretender and is trying to save his job.

The council did open the floor for public comment. One man said he warned the mayor employees were plotting against Rader and then the next day, the blowout between Rader and Martin happened.

The council was split on a proposal to polygraph those involved and witnesses to the incident. They say they want that done because of conflicting stories. The mayor was the tie-breaking vote.

“I just would prefer that the test be taken and we get some results before the suspensions,” Mayor Melinda Mitchell said.

Rader’s attorney says that he is not happy with the decision.

“I’m not happy with it because my client didn’t do anything wrong and they haven’t proved my client did anything wrong. The whole purpose of the lie detector test is to figure out who’s telling the truth or not,” William Goode said.

Goode isn’t the only party upset with that decision. Michael Martin also shared the same sentiment.

“I’m not taking nothing. If they can’t take my word for it like they don’t believe me, the best thing for me after my four years I gave them is to move on. Jobs are all over,” Martin said.

Mayor Mitchell says she will check with Louisiana State Police to see if they can conduct the polygraph tests. She says if they can’t, she will reach out to the New Iberia Police Department.

——————-

The St. Martinville City Council is looking for answers after an argument between the city’s public works superintendent and one of his employees.

The incident took place in late February. The superintendent, Charles Rader was placed in handcuffs, but later released.

Rader believes he is being targeted. He’s accused of using racial slurs during a meeting with employee Michael Martin. Both have lawyers and will be at tonight’s special meeting.

The city council is hopeful they will figure out exactly what happened at the public works barn nearly two weeks ago.

Rader said, “An accuser was threatening to beat me up and to hurt me. So what I did was asked him politely to leave.”

From there, he called St. Martinville Mayor Melinda Mitchell. Rader says she showed up at the public works barn with three officers.

“And then, more police officers came,” Rader said. “The public works facility was flooded with police cars and it looked like a crime scene.”

Rader says he never expected his meeting with Martin to get heated. Martin says Rader used racial slurs as he was walking away.

“I would never, ever use any racial slurs under any conditions,” Rader said. “That is not true.”

Martin said, “Why would we have to make up something like that? They have people who heard and wrote statements. You can’t do that in a place of business.”

Martin admits he did lose his temper.

“Yes, sir. After he called me the n-word, I did. I would rather shout at him than put my hands on him,” Martin said.

Now, he’s hopeful Rader will be fired.

Martin said, “I never want to see anyone lose their jobs, but you can’t do things like that. What happens if he would do it to the next person?”

Rader says he filed a complaint with the St. Martin Parish Sheriff’s Office against the police department. The Sheriff’s Office says they told Rader he would have to file his complaint with the police department because the issue is with an officer.

We did reach out to Mayor Melinda Mitchell, but she was unavailable for comment before our 5:00 newscast.

Chris Welty

Chris Welty

Chris Welty is a multimedia journalist at KATC.
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