Two additional ethics complaints have been filed back at councilman Pete Souza by the city's director of water resources Jerry Kerley. There has been an ongoing feud between the Kerley family and Souza for sometime.
Mr. Souza said that the second complaint which makes a false allegation about his separation from the US Marine Corp is particularly heinous to him. The complaint alleges he left the military due to “mental instability.”
Crossville councilman Pete Souza
Souza said left active duty after 20 years in the US Marine Corp at the rank of Major and at that time he was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal. The Meritorious Service Medal is awarded by the President of the United States for achievement during peacetime. Souza explained that the award speaks for itself and the manner in which he served his country.
The citation for the Meritorious Service Medal reads in part: “(Souza's) superior performance of duty during his tour is the hall mark of a career devoted to accomplishing broad and diverse tasks which highlights the culmination of 20 years of honorable and dedicated naval service. Major Souza's professionalism and devotion to duty reflected great credit upon himself and were in keeping with the highest tradition of the Marine Corps and the United State Naval Service.”
The two ethics complaints could be added to the meeting that will consider the ethics complaints filed by councilman Souza. City attorney Will Ridely has recommended to the council that they hold a special called meeting to act on the ethics complaints.
The first of the complaints filed by Jerry Kerley includes an accusation of verbal and physical assault related to the June 2 incident caught on video that has led to assault charges against Kerley's son councilman Jesse Kerley. The assault charge filed against Jesse Kerley was dismissed after a hearing in front of General Sessions Judge Larry Warner.
Jerry Kerley's statement says, “I questioned council person Souza about his involvement in the display of signage involving councilman Jesse Kerley. He instantly became defensive and began to verbally accost me while using a wide range of profanity. Then as I attempted to walk past him (Souza), he then blocked my path abruptly turned towards me thrusting his shoulder into my chest in an attempt to stop me from proceeding out of the building.”
The second complaint also addresses one of Souza's ethics complaints and concludes with the accusation against the councilman and his discharge from the military. The second complaint states, “I, Jerry Kerley have been the target of false accusation and reckless disregard of the truth by Pedro Souza. Mr. Souza alleges without proof that myself and councilman Kerley tampered with video evidence regarding an altercation that took place on June 2nd 2016 at Crossville city hall. In my 26 years being employed by the city of Crossville I have never encountered a more manipulative, devious, and dishonest individual as Mr. Souza. My workplace has become a hostile environment and this concerns me. Mr. Souza's actions exhibit characteristics associated with mental instability. It is my understanding that Mr. Souza was also discharged from the military due to similar behavior.”
The council is the ethics committee and is charged with determining if the complaints have merit, do not have merit, or require investigation. If investigation is needed and approved a lawyer from outside a 100 mile radius is chosen to investigate.
Related story: Councilman Souza files ethics complaints.