City suspends Lister over conduct issue

City suspends Lister over conduct issue

Bay City Police Chief Robert Lister has been suspended for 10 days without pay for conduct unbecoming of a city employee effective Feb. 27.

“He is held to the same standards that all officers are and being the police chief for the city of Bay City he is held at an even higher standard,” said Bay City Interim City Manager Robert Morton. “(Lister) made some bad decisions but we do expect him to come back and work and be a very good chief for the city of Bay City.”

The Bay City Tribune filed a Freedom of Information request under the Texas Public Information Act, Chapter 552, Texas Government Code, which guarantees the public’s access to information in the custody of governmental agencies to receive a copy of Lister’s corrective action notice that was placed in his personnel file.

According to the notice, “On Monday, Jan. 6, interim city manager Richard Morton received an anonymous letter with attachments. The letter described alleged inappropriate behavior involving the police chief. The attachments detailed an alleged inappropriate email exchange between the Chief of Police and a subordinate employee.

“Although anonymous complaints are discounted, the emails dated June 13, 2018 and June 21, 2018 indicate that they are between Chief Lister and one of his subordinate employees and thus had to be considered in a totality of circumstances, including recent issues that have been discussed  with Chief Lister.

“Chief Lister is employed in one of the highest profile positions in the city and even private/personal conduct that occurs outside of work must be appropriate as his actions, even personal ones, are viewed in the public’s critical eyes because of his position as police chief. Department heads are held to a higher standard of ethical conduct as they are to provide an example to other employees of the city.”

During this time of suspension, Lister will be ineligible to perform any extra-duty jobs. Lister will also be required to undergo sexual harassment training, to include, but not limited to, the review of Section 1.11 of the city’s personnel guidelines.

Lister is a native to Matagorda County and has served on Bay City Police Department since 1998. He has served as the City of Bay City’s Chief of Police since June of 2017. 

Before becoming Chief, he served as a Jailer for Jackson County Sheriff’s Department, a patrol officer for BCPD, a patrol Sergeant, Law Enforcement Commander, Assistant Police Chief, and Captain, totaling 21 years.  

Lister is a graduate of Bill Blackwood Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas, FBI National Academy #237, a Bachelor of Applied Science in Criminal Justice/Law Enforcement from the University of Phoenix, and a Bachelor of Applied Science in Criminal Justice/Police Science from Sam Houston State University.

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