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Former utility employee wants conference with board

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By Natasha LaFayette

natasha@lafollettepress.com

 

Chris Salyers, a former Jellico utility employee who recently filed a lawsuit for wrongful termination, has requested a hearing date with the Jellico Water and Electric Board of Directors.

Salyers attorney, David Dunaway, said this process is unusual and is being done without his consent.

Though Salyers lawsuit is still very much going forward in circuit court, Salyers feels an obligation to address the issue with the board.

“I’m not so sure the board is aware of his situation,” said Dunaway about Salyers’ claim he was terminated after trying to educate the electric system about low lines.

“More than anything else he wants the board to know what he told his supervisors about,” Dunaway continued. “I think its being kept from the board.”

Dunaway said he is unsure about the affects of the hearing with the board on the lawsuit. However, he said the hearing could keep someone from getting hurt in the near future.

“He wants to protect his fellow linemen and the public at large,” said Dunaway. “He spoke out before and they got rid of him.”

Salyers is requesting the hearing to simply educate the board on the details of his dismissal and the events leading up to it.

“I would like to make a motion to set a date for a hearing over my dismissal,” said Salyers.

Board Attorney Terry Basista asked Salyers if he had discussed the plan for a hearing with his attorney, and Salyers gave a nod of the head indicating he had.

The board set a hearing date for the next council meeting on May 12. The hearing will start prior to the regular scheduled meeting at 4 p.m.

Basista and utility manager Mike Bethurem could not be reached for comment by  press time.