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Mayor of Scottsboro releases statement amid questions about finances related to personnel matter

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SCOTTSBORO, Ala. (WHNT) – A concerned citizen in Scottsboro brought up questions about city spending in the beginning of November. Claims by Garry Morgan prompted WHNT News 19 to check public records and examine checks written by the City of Scottsboro for the use of a private investigator. The investigator shown in the records is not on a list of professionals certified by the State of Alabama.

On Tuesday evening, Scottsboro Mayor Melton Potter released the following statement to address recent questions about finances:

“After receiving an allegation by a City employee relating to conduct of another City employee in March 2015, I made the decision to obtain the services of a private investigation firm to investigate the merits of the allegation in order to minimize disruption among the staff and to assure impartiality. The investigative firm had performed similar work for the City previously.  The cost of the investigator was $782.72.

The employee was suspended without pay based on the findings of the investigation.  The employee did not appeal the discipline or otherwise file a grievance concerning the disciplinary action.

Later, however, an attorney for the employee sought to have the disciplinary measures removed from the employee’s file and to have the employee’s pay reinstated for the period of the suspension. Upon advice of counsel, I agreed to this request.  Attorneys’ fees were paid in the amount of $2500 to the employee’s attorney. No other payment was made to or on behalf of the employee. I was advised that this resolution of a matter that appeared likely to result in expensive and time-consuming litigation was in the best interests of the City. I subsequently advised members of the council about it.

It is the Mayor’s responsibility to run the day to day operations of the city.  The council’s role is to pass the budget and provide money for those day to day operations.  The city council receives monthly financial statements. The money for the attorneys’ fees was paid out of the 2014-15 budget the council approved under the professional fees line item. The amount of the referenced payments was within the approved budget and I was advised to approve the payment by the City Attorney in accordance with prior practice of the City.

Throughout this matter, I have followed advice of counsel representing the City of Scottsboro and I agree that the resolution of this matter as outlined above was in the best interests of the City of Scottsboro and the employee involved.  There are no pending personnel matters with the employee. In accordance with our general practice with respect to personnel matters, I have made no other comment or statement about this matter and have no additional plans to do so.”

City Council President Patrick Stewart also released a statement on the heels of the mayor’s statement:

“The Mayor has made a written statement this week regarding certain issues in the city. Copies of the statement have been provided to us and the media. I have reviewed the statement individually with each Councilman. My view is and that of the consensus of the Council members is the information contained in the statement is true and correct.”