NORTH COURTLAND, Ala. - There's trouble in the Lawrence County town of North Courtland. Late last week, the mayor suspended the town clerk amid allegations of insubordination. That led to a specially called council meeting Tuesday night, and there was only one thing on the agenda.
North Courtland Mayor Riley Evans was the first to arrive for the meeting. Neither he nor Town Clerk Tabitha Bailey would make any comment as they entered the building.
Mayor Evans suspended Bailey Friday, telling WHNT News 19 it was due to insubordination, and that the comments were directed at him personally. We would later learn the council was given a list of complaints about Bailey's handling of legal documents and allegations of tardiness.
The public and news media were ejected from the meeting to allow the council to go into executive session which lasted just over two hours. When it was over, the public and news media were allowed to go back into the meeting room, a unanimous vote was taken, and Mrs. Bailey was reinstated.
Mayor Evans told reporters he and Bailey had grown up together. He said mistakes could have been made on both sides.
“This is something we need to learn from and grow together,” Riley said. He added, “She's a good worker, she's a great worker. I have respect for her, I always have and I always will, and she's a great person."
Bailey, who locked the building up after the meeting, declined comment as she left. She is to report back to work Wednesday morning.
But there's a caveat. The council said that at their next meeting they want to examine all of the jobs within the town government. But there was no explanation for what that might really mean. As for any back pay or clearing Bailey’s employment record, Mayor Evans says it will be up to the council to take up those questions.