Tallassee mayor sues city, council over firing as utility superintendent
TALLASSEE, Ala. (WSFA) - Tallassee Mayor John Hammock has filed a lawsuit against the city and the City Council over his termination as superintendent of the city’s utility system.
The federal lawsuit names all seven council members and the city as defendants. He is claiming wrongful termination plus libel and slander.
Hammock alleges that his termination on Oct. 12 violates city policies and his 14th Amendment rights to due process. He is seeking back pay, front pay, damages and mental anguish compensation among monetary awards.
Court filings state Hammock’s attorney, Julian L. McPhillips Jr., wrote to the council on Nov. 9 requesting a hearing and demanded Hammock be reinstated as utility superintendent. The record states McPhillips also sent the following note to city attorney John Smith:
“Mayor Hammock was entitled to a notice in writing of the council’s intention to dismiss him, including, but not limited to, the (a) date and time of the hearing; (b) the grounds of disciplinary action; (c) the notice of right to appear and be represented; (d) a notice of right to respond; and (e) a notice of right to present evidence. This right applies to both classified and unclassified employees.”
Nov. 9 is also the day the City Council adopted a resolution accusing the mayor of “misconduct.” That resolution accuses Hammock of using funds without City Council approval to buy a vehicle, pay for the mayor’s campaign for the Alabama Public Service Commission and paying a business owned or controlled by the former building inspector for tree and shrubbery-cutting and debris removal. The council also accused the mayor of harassing city employees and seeking reimbursement for expenses not related to city business.
The lawsuit calls these allegations false, saying “The Defendants’ malicious actions and publications have caused injury to Plaintiff’s reputation and character, have falsely and maliciously imputed potential criminal and/or unethical activity of the Plaintiff, subjected Plaintiff to unwarranted disgrace, ridicule, odium, or contempt in the establishment of his friends and acquaintances, or the public, resulting in damage to his reputation.”
The city of Tallassee has until Dec. 21 to file a response to the lawsuit.
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