Pelham appealing ‘Kangaroo court’ orderPublished 7:51pm Monday, November 4, 2013
By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor
The Pelham City Council during its Nov. 4 meeting voted to appeal a judge’s order claiming a ‘Kangaroo court’ led to the 2012 firing of three city Public Works employees.
During the meeting, the City Council voted to authorize the city’s attorneys to “take appropriate steps to appeal the aforesaid ruling and/or to seek such further judicial review thereof,” read the resolution passed by the council.
In an order entered in the Shelby County Circuit Court on Oct. 17, Judge Hub Harrington ordered the city to rehire Public Works employees Dale Bailey, David McCall and Justin Martin, who were terminated from their positions in early 2012.
According to Harrington’s order, the three employees were terminated after the results of a Pelham Police Department investigation were provided to city officials. The investigation was launched after “employee complaints were received concerning misconduct on the part of certain individuals working in the Pelham Public Works Department.”
In his order, Harrington wrote the city’s Personnel Board “considered the burden of proof to be upon the accused employees to prove their innocence” after the employees appealed their firings to the Personnel Board. Harrington claimed the board held the appeal hearing to “feign compliance” with the Alabama Civil Service Law.
“Had the city actually attempted to justify the termination rather than simply holding a kangaroo court, the outcome of this case could well have been different,” Harrington wrote. “The court also notes that since this matter arose, the city administration has completely changed.
Harrington ordered the city to void the three employees’ firing and provide back pay to the employees from their date of termination.
On Nov. 4, Pelham City Council President Rick Hayes said the city would like to ask for a reconsideration of Harrington’s order before appealing the order.
“We are not in a situation where we’ve got a lot of options. We have no choice but to authorize our attorneys to do what is necessary,” Hayes said. “Hopefully, we will be able to seek a reconsideration of the order first.
“We want the former employees to move on and be successful, but we’ve got to look out for our current employees too,” Hayes added.