|South Fulton lawsuit settled |
|Posted: Friday, October 28, 2011 9:08 pm |
The South Fulton City Commission has voted to accept the terms of a settlement in a lawsuit filed against the city by four former public works employees.
The lawsuit was filed in April in Obion County Circuit Court by fired South Fulton city workers David Glisson, Hubert Maynard, Robert Weatherford and James Donnell.
The four men were terminated in March by South Fulton Mayor David Crocker, who was serving in a capacity as interim city manager while the search was under way for a new city manager.
Crocker cited alleged insubordination as the reason for the terminations, with the situation apparently stemming from an incident over the safety of a gas stove and gas meter at the community room at the South Fulton Municipal Building.
The four fired employees contended a gas leak created an unsafe situation and a threat to the public, while Crocker contended he repeatedly asked the employees to make any necessary repairs and claimed there was no safety issue.
Glisson was employed as a utility foreman/gas operator, Maynard as director of public works, Weatherford as a backhoe operator and Donnell as a laborer, according to the lawsuit.
In three pages of the lawsuit, the four former employees outlined the alleged events leading up to their March 13 and 14 firings to support their claims of an unsafe situation. They also alleged in the suit that they were never given formal separation notices or provided with a grievance hearing, which resulted in their taking legal action.
At their monthly session Oct. 20, city commissioners went into a closed executive session with legal counsel to discuss the pending litigation. They met for 15 minutes before returning to regular session, where city attorney Karl Ivey said there was no vote or no decision and announced the scheduling of a called meeting for Monday evening to vote on an issue raised about settling the lawsuit.
During the called meeting Monday, the commission voted 3-2 to accept the terms of the settlement. Commissioners Tony Perry, Thomas Pettigrew and Jeff Vowell voted in favor of it, while Crocker and Vice Mayor Charles Moody voted against it.
John Burleson, a Jackson attorney representing the city in the lawsuit, told The Fulton Leader the settlement agreement was no admission of fault by the city or the mayor, but said the risk of exposure was high and it was strictly a business decision.
Specific details of the settlement were not revealed.
Published in The Messenger 10.28.11