FOLLY BEACH — City Council upheld a public safety officer’s suspension tonight, despite a grievance committee’s recommendation to reverse it.

Public Safety Director Dennis Brown suspended Officer Ron Avallone for a week without pay after Avallone escorted 67-year-old Fred Rogers off the beach June 23 for causing a disturbance, and Rogers was arrested later that day after a woman said he fondled her at a swimming pool.

Avallone appealed the suspension. A two-member grievance committee said there was no evidence to back up the suspension and recommended that council reverse it.

Council spent a half hour in closed session discussing the committee’s recommendation, while about a dozen people waited in the auditorium for them to return. It was a much smaller crowd than showed up to support Avallone during the grievance committee’s hearing in August.

Tonight’s vote was 6-1, with Councilman Eddie Ellis the only one to vote to accept the grievance committee’s recommendation.

Avallone told the grievance committee that he had no idea Rogers was accused of sexually assaulting a girl at the beach and left to handle another call.

Brown said Avallone should have checked out the complaint more thoroughly, which would have headed off the second complaint.

Reach Dave Munday at 937-5553 or