"A culture of fear," that is how a room filled with concerned residents describe the working environment inside the Jackson County Department of Human Resources Tuesday night during the organization's regularly scheduled board meeting.
The outcry follows several employees leaving the department and two senior level supervisors with decades of experience between them being suspended following alleged "policy violations."
Lawyers representing Kristie Crabtree and Connie Cotten said their clients chose to spend their time working to keep kids safe instead of paperwork.
"In a perfect world the paperwork would be done but they are way understaffed and their time was spent with the kids helping them," attorney Jayson Carroll told WHNT News 19.
Several people asked the board to take a good look at the department and bring back the employees who are on suspension. During the meeting interim director Denise Raines handed the board her letter or resignation telling the board she is leaving so they can focus on helping the kids and not the personal attacks against her.
The board has a new interim director and it is not clear what their next move will be. In the meantime, a court date has been set for the end of April. Lawyers told WHNT News 19 they hope to come to a resolution before it heads to court.