Appeals Of Fort Oglethorpe Firings Denied, Matter Moves To Superior Court

Wednesday, May 15, 2013 - by Mike O'Neal

The Fort Oglethorpe City Council has upheld the March 22 firings of former Public Works Director Jeff Long and Chief of Police David Eubanks.

Those firings immediately followed City Manager Ron Goulart’s resignation and the appointment of Harold Silcox to serve as interim manager.

Within minutes of assuming his post at 3:55 p.m., Mr. Silcox called each of the long time employees into Mayor Lynn Long’s office to tell them their employment with the city had come to an end and that neither would receive severance.

The public works director and police chief filed appeals to their termination, and Tuesday evening the mayor presided over a tribunal consisting of the city council members to either uphold or reverse the firings.

Mayor Long cast a tie-breaking vote, joining Louis Hamm and Johnnie Smith in upholding Mr. Long’s firing while Earl Gray and Clay Kissner voted to overturn his termination.

Mr. Eubanks’ dismissal was upheld 3-1 with Mr. Gray casting the sole vote to reinstate the police chief.

Stuart James and McCracken Poston, attorneys for the former employees, said the results of the tribunal were a foregone conclusion.

“I was surprised by Kissner’s vote,” said Mr. James, concerning Mr. Long’s appeal. The rest showed what a kangaroo court this proved to be. The mayor was coaching Mr. Silcox on his answers — the city of Fort Oglethorpe can do a lot better than this.”

Both Mr. James and Mr. Poston pointed out that Mr. Silcox admitted, under oath, that he was hired to fire Mr. Long and Mr. Eubanks.

It was also noted that Mr. Goulart’s letter of resignation clearly stated that his resignation became effective on March 25, the Monday following the firings under appeal.

“It was no surprise,” Mr. Poston said after his clients’ firings were confirmed.

Before questioning began, every member of the council was served with a copy of a Superior Court lawsuit calling for the reinstatement of both Mr. Long and Mr. Eubanks and their being awarded damages.

The complaint states, among other things, that Mr. Silcox firings were premature, that the city’s policy regarding disciplinary action toward employees had not been adhered to and that the mayor, council and interim manager had acted illegally.

Mr. Poston said it was necessary that the appeals hearings be concluded before the lawsuit could move forward.

“We expected this and now will let a jury decide what happens. It is clear that Harold Silcox did not have the authority for three days to do anything. The grounds are set for a lawsuit.

“This was a preamble to the bigger story,” Mr. James said.

When asked to express his opinion about the appeals hearing, Mayor Long’s response was, “No comment.”

Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: AKINS, JAVORIS DEON  7604 STANDIFER GAP RD APT 1012 CHATTANOOGA, 37421  Age at Arrest: 20 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County CRIMINAL TRESPASSING --- BARKER, LISA JANE  1211 SPRINGVIEW DRIVE CHATTANOOGA, 37421  Age at Arrest: 49 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County ... (click for more)

31,490 Cast Ballots In First 6 Days Of Early Voting In Hamilton County

In the first six days of early voting in Hamilton County, 31,490 have already cast ballots. That includes 2,216 ballots received by mail. There were 5,157 who turned out at early voting sites on Wednesday and 5,083 on Thursday. The total on Friday was 5,011, and it was 3,818 on Saturday. The turnout on Monday was 5,552 and on Tuesday was 5,262. Sites: Brainerd ... (click for more)

October Is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Picture a sold-out baseball game at Wrigley Field or Nationals Park packed with 40,000 fans. That image represents roughly the same number of women and men who die from breast cancer each year.  In Tennessee alone, an estimated 900 women will die from the disease in 2016. It is a sad statistic, but there is some good news: thanks to early detection and improved treatments, ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Saving A Life & More

About 40 years ago I was at an afternoon football practice when one of those who was also watching from the fence was bitten by a bumble bee or yellow jacket or whatever it was and almost died from anaphylactic shock. Luckily an athletic trainer had an EpiPen, jammed it into the man’s thigh and it is believed to have saved the victim’s life. For years I kept an EpiPen on the top ... (click for more)

Taylor Luthringer, Thomas Porter Win Region Cross Country

COOKEVILLE – Tuesday was a pretty good day for the Signal Mountain cross country teams. Not only did they celebrate with both individual winners in the Region 4-A/AA races, but both teams finished in the top three and will advance to the state meet, which will be held at Nashville’s Percy Warner Park a week from Saturday. Taylor Luthringer and Thomas Porter captured the individual ... (click for more)

Notre Dame Draws Top Ranked Greeneville, CCS Opens With Madison Magnet

For the second year in a row, Notre Dame drew the top-ranked Greeneville in the opening round of the TSSAA Class A/AA state tournament.  Notre Dame is scheduled to play Greeneville on Wednesday at 8 p m. (EST)  in Murfreesboro. CCS will play Madison Magnet in the first round on field #1 at 7:30 p.m. (EST) . CCS and Greeneville met in the state championship game ... (click for more)