UPDATE: Lawsuit filed by fired Ft. Oglethorpe officials
Photo by WRCB anchor Callie Starnes.
Photo by WRCB anchor Callie Starnes.
FORT OGLETHORPE, CATOOSA COUNTY -
(WRCB) -- Two long-time Fort Oglethorpe city employees will not get their jobs back.
Thursday night, in a close vote, city leaders upheld the firings of former police chief David Eubanks and one-time public works director Jeff Long.
The two were fired in March, by the interim city manager, just minutes after he was appointed.
Eubanks and Long's attorneys say he was hired to fire the two men.
Under oath, Fort Oglethorpe interim City Manager Harold Silcox admitted to his role in the firing of two longtime city employees.
"Let me ask it this way Mr. Silcox: you were appointed as interim city manager for the sole purpose of firing Mr. Long and Mr. Eubanks, weren't you, sir," asks Stewart James, attorney for the fired employees.
"Yes," replies Silcox.
Moments later he took it back.
"No, no," says Silcox.
"So you're changing your answer now," replies James.
"Yeah," replies Silcox.
Silcox admitted to not reviewing personnel files, before dismissing police chief David Eubanks and public works director Jeff Long.
He says he was made aware of complaints against the pair by the mayor and city council members in a closed door meeting, immediately following his appointment as interim city manager.
Channel 3 was there as Silcox fired Eubanks and Long, just minutes after leaving that meeting; but he says, it was his own idea.
"Mayor Long, Lynn Long, did he talk to you about it," asks James.
"No," replies Silcox.
"That's a no," asks James.
"Did he tell me to terminate them," Silcox replies. "No."
"Did he talk to you about the termination," asks James.
"No," says Silcox.
What was discussed, Mayor Long wouldn't allow to be revealed, saying what happens in executive session stays there.
"To not allow this testimony is denying the citizens of Fort Oglethorpe the right to know what their government is doing," says Attorney McCracken Poston.
Attorneys for Eubanks and Long say the two never received a warning or reprimand.
They also say Silcox acted too quickly.
Former city manager Ron Goulart's resignation was dated March 25th.
Silcox fired Eubanks and Long three days before.
Still, the city council voted to uphold the firings, with Mayor Lynn Long breaking a tie vote on Jeff Long's termination.
"What the vote showed is this was a kangaroo proceeding," James says. "It's a joke. Mr. Silcox admitted under oath that the only reason he was hired was to fire Jeff Long and David Eubanks, and he did that even though the mayor was telling him to answer no."
"The mayor was back there coaching Mr. Silcox," James adds. "He was coached throughout the whole proceeding. And after that question was done, there was only one just result and that was to reinstate this man to his job and they didn't do it."
Thursday attorneys for Eubanks and Long filed a lawsuit in Catoosa County Superior Court against the mayor and city council members for damages.
Former city employee, Tammy Davis, is also named as a plaintiff in the case.
Officials from two counties are responding to a reported explosion at a company that creates a wide range of explosive products. The explosion was reported at Accurate Energetic Systems, 5891 Highway 230More
One person was killed and three others were injured in an explosion at a factory that makes ammunition near the Hickman-Humphreys county lines.More
Wednesday, April 16 2014 11:40 PM EDT2014-04-17 03:40:13 GMT
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