Judge overrules firing of Chattanooga City Court clerk

Judge overrules firing of Chattanooga City Court clerk

December 3rd, 2011 by Cliff Hightower and Todd South in News

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.