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Young files petition to return to work

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By Susan Sharp

David Young is claiming city officials violated their own procedures manual when they placed him on administrative leave earlier this month.

On Friday, he filed a petition in chancery court asking Chancellor Billy Joe White to return him to his position as LaFollette City Administrator.

In the petition, Young, through his attorney, David Dunaway, says Mayor Mike Stanfield and the four-man council didn’t follow the guidelines of LaFollette’s personnel policy when they suspended him.

Instead, the group acted “in an arbitrary and unreasonable manner.”

Under provisions in the policy manual, the council and mayor are to gather facts in hopes of finding a resolution when a grievance is filed, the filing said.

After information is obtained, the next step is to give their findings, along with a recommendation as to how to proceed, to the pertinent department head, the petition says. If action needs to be taken on the complaint, it must be done in three days with the employee “notified in writing through the proper channels,” Young claims.

However, in his case, this was not the method applied, Young says.

In January, city recorder Linda White presented the grievance that has been the catalyst for Young’s suspension to members of the council. She alleged Young had subjected her to various forms of harassment causing her not only embarrassment but also fear.

 In acting in accordance with the city’s personnel polices, the council should have taken action within 10 days in the matter, the petition claims. The council’s inaction on White’s complaint in that time frame now prevents the group from taking any action against Young at all, Dunaway is arguing.

The next prong of his argument is that city officials have violated Young’s due process.

Just after his suspension, Young submitted a written request to acting city administrator Terry Sweat to review his case. This should have occurred within 10 days but didn’t, Young asserts.

Furthermore, when a hearing was conducted on White’s grievance, Young’s due process rights were allegedly again violated.

Neither Young nor Dunaway was afforded the opportunity to cross examine or ask questions of the witnesses presented in the case against Young, the petition says.

Young has asked the chancellor to return him to his job in the full capacity. Young cites not only the council’s previous inaction on White’s complaint as a reason but says city officials “made absolutely no finding of guilt or fault” against him at the hearing earlier this month. The suspension imposed on him is “invalid and without just cause,” the petition claims.

Dunaway asks in the motion for a copy of the minutes from the Aug. 4 meeting be forwarded to chancery court. After a review of the minutes is conducted, Young should be given a hearing and an order issued that LaFollette city officials didn’t have reason to suspend Young; he should then be returned to his job. Dunaway claims.

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