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.”

Avery Charged In Attack With Chair Leg At Moccasin Bend That Left Man In Critical Condition

An arrest has been made in the aggravated assault Thursday at the Moccasin Bend Mental Health facility that left 38-year-old Kevin Green in critical condition. He was struck in the head with a chair leg, police said. Leviticus Avery, 37, has been charged with attempted first-degree murder and aggravated assault. He is an inmate at the Hamilton County Jail. ... (click for more)

Police Say Mullis Was Involved In Incident In Which Woman Was Shot Outside Hixson Walmart

Anthony Lee Mullis, 21, is facing several charges including attempted aggravated robbery on Sept. 28.       In that incident, the victim was found at the Hixson Walmart with a gunshot wound to her hip.   She stated that she had agreed to meet with the defendant in the parking lot to buy some “Roxys” or Oxycodone, but that when she ... (click for more)

The Facts About Jail

Since Roy had such a positive reaction to Jeffrey Cross's wonderful (and wonderfully civil--how refreshing) email response to his column on the bike lanes, allow me to speak on the subject of the jail.  First off, Roy's right about some things:  It is overcrowded, underfunded, and understaffed.  This is no secret, it's in the Grand Jury report every term.  Here's ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: We Must Learn To Tell

On July 4th of this year, FBI agents – acting on a tip -- arrested Alexander Ciccolo, a 23-year-old with known mental problems, as he carried a duffle bag full of automatic attack weapons. Moments before, he had bought the illegal firearms from an undercover informant outside of Boston. As agents later scoured his apartment, they found bomb-making equipment including a pressure ... (click for more)

No. 6 Chattanooga Hosts Furman Saturday

The No. 6 Chattanooga Mocs return to Southern Conference action this weekend, hosting the Furman Paladins.  Game time is set for 1:04 p.m. (E.D.T.) on Saturday, Oct. 10, at Finley Stadium in Chattanooga, Tenn.   The Mocs are boasting their highest FCS ranking in school history.  UTC carries a 3-1 overall record and a 1-0 mark in SoCon action into this weekend's ... (click for more)

Impressive Baylor Rolls Past Father Ryan In D-II Volleyball

If you wanted to watch a rematch of last year's Division II state volleyball championship match, then you should have been at Baylor Friday afternoon. The defending state champ Baylor Lady Red Raiders look poised and ready to defend as they beat Father Ryan 3-1, winning by scores of 25-15, 25-14, 22-25 and 25-20. Baylor improves to 39-4 overall and 10-0 in region play while ... (click for more)