The Tennessee Conservative Staff –
One of the Tennessee Senate’s top aides was suspended indefinitely for inappropriate behavior. Records show that the incident took place during a legislative conference last month.
Two legislators, who chose to remain anonymous, stated that a current state senator was also rumored to have displayed misconduct as well. However, it does not appear that a formal complaint has been filed at this time.
Connie Ridley, the director of legislative administration, declined to provide a comment on the matter.
A disciplinary letter obtained by NewsChannel 5 Investigates stated that Chip McConkey, executive assistant for policy and research for Senate Speaker Pro Tempore Ferrell Haile, was placed on leave on July 14. An investigation was conducted regarding his behavior at the Southern Legislative Conference in Charleston.
McConkey was then suspended without pay for three weeks, beginning on August 1. His suspension will end on September 15 “at a minimum”, and he is being required to “seek in-patient rehabilitation.”
“While at the conference it is reported that, on at least one occasion, you became overly intoxicated in a public setting,” Ridley wrote. “While in this intoxicated state, you exhibited inappropriate conduct toward at least one female individual.”
Ridley continued: “Furthermore, your behavior of extreme intoxication and conducting yourself in an inappropriate manner toward other individuals with whom you have a professional working relationship is not acceptable and will not be tolerated.”
“At the close of your disciplinary leave of absence, we will consider whether you may return to your work in Speaker Pro Tempore’s office,” Ridley told McConkey. “There is no guarantee that you will be allowed to return to work[,] only that further discussion will occur mid-September concerning your employment status with the Senate.”
McConkey was unable to be reached for comment.
Ridley responded to an email about swirling allegations against a sitting state senator by denying any further information regarding the topic.
After Republican Representative Scotty Campbell was found to be guilty of harassing two legislative college interns during this year’s legislative session, the Tennessee General Assembly’s sexual harassment policies faced renewed criticism.
Campbell resigned immediately after that story broke.