published Saturday, December 3rd, 2011

Judge overrules firing of Chattanooga City Court clerk


by Cliff Hightower
  • photo
    Richard Beeland, spokesman for Mayor Ron Littlefield.

A judge has ordered a fired Chattanooga City Court clerk be returned to her job after she sued over her 2009 dismissal.

Lillian Smith, a court technician, was fired in August 2009 after interim Court Clerk Jan Turner conducted an audit of Smith’s leave time, according to a release by the Service Employees International Union Local 205.

“It seems entirely possible Ms. Turner was out to get Ms. Smith, and used compensatory time records to do it,” Administrative Law Judge Marion Wall wrote in his order, issued Nov. 28.

The city has until Dec. 13 to appeal.

During hearings held in late September and early October, Smith testified that “she thought she had been singled out, and that others were allowed to correct records prior to the ‘audit’ results,” Wall wrote.

Union President Doug Collier said in the release that “it’s unfortunate that the administration chooses this path instead of trying to sit down and work these issues out without costing taxpayers money.”

Collier specifically criticized Mayor Ron Littlefield in the release, saying that when Littlefield “refuses to work with employees or labor organizations” on these issues, employees must take concerns to court.

Richard Beeland, Littlefield’s spokesman, responded Friday that the mayor was “confused on why the [union] was criticizing the mayor” since the matter went through the proper procedure.

about Todd South...

Todd South covers courts, poverty, technology, military and veterans for the Times Free Press. He has worked at the paper since 2008 and previously covered crime and safety in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Todd’s hometown is Dodge City, Kan. He served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq before returning to school for his journalism degree from the University of Georgia. Todd previously worked at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. Contact ...

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mccuthison9 said...

It is clear that this woman Jan Turner is a menace and desires to harm people she has a problem with. If the story is accurate then she has falsified records and then attempted to use this to harm another. Her actual charge should be abuse of process and official oppression, and her superiors should also be charged since there was no checks and balance. Lillian Smith should return to her original job with no possibility of a transfer, because if she does not, then the victory is hollow as it stands. Jan Turner should not be able to terminate anyone as interim her superiors should do this.

December 3, 2011 at 8:09 a.m.
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