Community awaits Eutaw decision on hearing held for police officers

On Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2016, Eutaw Mayor Hattie Edwards and the City Council held a closed personnel hearing reportedly for three Eutaw police officers who had been placed on administrative leave. At the close of the hearing, the outcome was not announced. It is expected that at the next regularly scheduled city council meeting on Tuesday, October 25, the public will be be given more information regarding the hearing and subsequent decisions.
In an attempt to ascertain who has hiring and firing authority in city government, the Greene County Democrat staff researched recent municipal cases on this issue which resulted in Supreme Court decisions.
The Alabama Supreme Court has issued various case rulings confirming that, in Alabama, mayors alone have the power to hire and fire municipal employees. In 2009 the Supreme Court ruled unanimously in favor of Fairfield Mayor Kenneth Coachman, who had sued five members of the city council after they voted in favor of an ordinance that would have stripped the mayor of appointing authority. Jefferson County Circuit Judge Dan King ruled that, according to state law, the authority rested with the mayor. The Supreme Court upheld King’s decision.
In similar cases steaming from the 2009 decision, the Alabama Supreme Court issued rulings against the city councils of Fairhope and Daphne when they passed ordinances removing their mayors’ power over personnel matters and giving it to themselves. The Supreme Court forced the city councils to undo the ordinances.
At press time, the Democrat was unable to reach the city attorney to corroborate the process and procedures involved in hiring and firing practices in Eutaw Municipal Government.

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