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.”

moneal2480@comcast.net



Copies Of Remaining Chattanooga Photo Books Available At Zarzour's Restaurant

Remaining copies of the Chattanooga Photo books are available at Zarzours Restaurant on Rossville Avenue off Main Street. It is near Fire Hall #1. They include the Remarkable Stokes Collection, Railroads In and Around Chattanooga, and Paul Hiener's Historic Chattanooga.  All were published by Chattanoogan.com.  and printed by College Press at Collegedale. The ... (click for more)

Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: ARTERBURN, ALEXIS DANE  6783 SAWTOOTH DRIVE OOLTEWAH, 37363  Age at Arrest: 20 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County VIOLATION OF PROBATION (ESCAPE) VIOLATION OF PROBATION (SIMPLE DOMESTIC ASSAULT) --- AUSTIN, KEITH LEE  6422 STALLION LANE HARRISON, 37341  Age at Arrest: 27 ... (click for more)

Signal Mountain Should Be Problem Solvers Around The City

Re: Roy Exum’s “Stay, Signal Mountain, Stay”  Well this article is something to think about. I think the split could go either way, and Signal Mountain schools would still flourish, as they have done for the past several years. What I'm worried about is why Signal Mountain has not yet had the guts to go be problem solvers at Howard, or Tyner, or Central. Why do ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The School Board Bullies

When the good people of Signal Mountain join with their loved ones to give thanks for many, many blessings on this hallowed Thursday, you can bet the Hamilton County Department of Education will be on nary a list. For the past year a diligent advisory committee has studied the feasibility of forming its own school district and exactly one week prior to Thanksgiving, the misguided ... (click for more)

LSU Hammers Vols 30-10 In Hoke's Debut As Interim Coach

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Butch Jones is long gone. But Tennessee’s on-field results Saturday were about the same as they’ve been since Georgia humiliated the Vols 41-0 on Sept. 30. Nationally ranked LSU’s defense effectively stymied Tennessee’s offense most of the game and the Tigers got two rushing touchdowns in a 30-10 SEC victory before an announced crowd of 96,888 at Neyland ... (click for more)

UTC Finishes Tough Season With 10-3 Win Over ETSU

A youthful Tom Arth knew he was facing the biggest coaching challenge of his life back in the spring when he was hired as the next head man for the Chattanooga Mocs football team, but he didn’t know exactly how challenging it would be. It hasn’t been the season that Arth had planned as things didn’t always go as he had hoped, but the best news is that the season finished on a ... (click for more)