Ad Spot

Lawsuit claims Dickens was illegally appointed court administrator

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

A Birmingham attorney recently filed an amended lawsuit on behalf of several Pelham city employees, claiming the former City Council president’s appointment as Pelham’s municipal court administrator was “invalid under Alabama law.”

Attorney Wayne Morse Jr. filed the amended lawsuit in the Shelby County Circuit Court three weeks after filing the original suit, which claimed Pelham officials modified city employees’ job descriptions and pay plans without the authorization of the city’s Personnel Board.

On Jan. 5, Morse Jr. filed the original lawsuit Shelby County Circuit Court on behalf of appointed Pelham Personnel Board members Jim Collins and James Burks and Pelham city employees Carolyn Mitchell, Tammy Tankersley, Mary Gray, Judy Walters, Allison Miller, Connie Buse and Randy White. The amended lawsuit added city employees Justin Martin, Dale Bailey, James Coggeshall, David McCall and Cynthia McCall.

The lawsuit names Pelham Mayor Don Murphy, City Clerk and Finance Director Tom Seale, Human Resources Director Jerry Nolen and Marketing Manager Eva Shepherd as defendants.

On Dec. 30, 2011, former councilman Mike Dickens resigned his council seat to become the city’s municipal court administrator. The move came about a month after Dickens resigned from his position as council president.

The lawsuit claims the city violated the Pelham civil service law handbook when it appointed Dickens as court administrator, and claims the appointment was done without the approval of the city Personnel Board.

The suit claims Dickens before Oct. 5, 2011 “added the position of the municipal court administrator” to a new employee pay plan, which was enacted by the council during a special-called meeting on Oct. 6, 2011.

During the Oct. 6, 2011, meeting Councilman Steve Powell voted against enacting the new pay plan and said the plan conflicted with the city personnel law. During the same meeting, Dickens said the new pay plan did “not circumvent any law,” and said the pay plan had been approved by City Attorney Butch Ellis.

The amended lawsuit also claims the city allegedly sought to “circumvent the competitive bid law” when purchasing dining room chairs by breaking down the cost of the chairs into multiple purchase orders.

The original lawsuit, which Morse filed Jan. 5, claims the defendants “exercised rights unauthorized under the laws of Alabama and the city of Pelham,” and alleges the defendants have “patronized political supporters and benefited friends” instead of following the city’s Personnel Board Act.

Ellis said on Jan. 27 he had not yet gotten a chance to review the amended lawsuit in-depth, but said he did not think the city had broken any laws.

“At this point, I don’t see anything the city is doing wrong,” Ellis said Jan. 27. “If anything needs to be changed or tweaked, it looks like very minor things.”

 

Calera

Police chase shuts down I-65 in Calera after suspect refuses to exit vehicle

280 Main Story

Magnolias Gift Wrapping commemorates opening

Calera

Jason Hamlin named next Calera head coach

280 Main Story

BOE approves new Chelsea Middle principal, Calera High assistant principal

280 Main Story

Brooks addresses pandemic response, ongoing challenges

280 Main Story

Former Spain Park and Auburn golfer Michael Johnson qualifies for U.S. Open

Helena

DaySol Coffee Lab begins offering interactive roasting experience

280 Main Story

Chelsea’s Chicken Fry’d opens doors to customers

Montevallo

High school, transfer students invited to UM Preview Days

280 Main Story

Sheriff’s office investigating COVID-19 vaccine scams

280 Reporter

Flip Side Watersports reopens for the summer

Alabaster Main Story

Calera searching for new football coach after Simpson leaves for Thompson

News

Pelham hears from public on potential housing developments

News

Pelham enters Cahaba Solid Waste Authority to improve trash services

Calera

Camp Unplugged gets kids outdoors for the summer

Alabaster Main Story

5k and festival benefits animal rescue, school

280 Main Story

County to have 29 local athletes to compete for North-South All-Star teams

Alabaster Main Story

AFD holds push-in ceremony for new Tower 19 truck

Columbiana

Music on Main enjoys successful start

Community Columnists

Loyacano follows his faith to find ways to serve

Columbiana

Post 131 awards scholarships to SCHS students

Alabaster Main Story

Palmer meets with Congressional Art Competition winner

Montevallo

UM working group studying campus building naming criteria

280 Main Story

Top players named to 2021 All-County baseball team