An April 28 reprimand for insubordination is cited in a whistle-blower lawsuit filed this week by Gordons city clerk against the city
In a memorandum written on city letterhead, Mayor Mary Ann Whipple-Lue described a phone conversation between the city attorney and City Clerk Towanna Brown:
While the mayor listened via speakerphone, Brown asked City Attorney Joseph Boone about possible repercussions if she signed a check to pay an auditor despite the city council not voting to approve the payment.
The mayor wrote, Attorney Boone spoke to Council (sic) Reese, you and I, directing you not to sign the check. I informed you that I sign your check and not Attorney Boone and you could be suspended for being insubordinate. ... Please be advised that further disciplinary actions could be taken for continued insubordination.
The mayors memorandum is included as an exhibit for Browns lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Wilkinson County Superior Court.
In the court filing, Brown alleges Whipple-Lue threatened her job on April 28 when she refused to sign the check, two weeks after the mayor and Councilman Terry Reese had refused to sign the same check.
Brown never signed the check, believing shed be breaking the law if she did.
Residents in City Hall paying bills overheard the mayor threatening Brown, according to the lawsuit.
Charles E. Cox Jr., one of Browns lawyers, declined comment Friday.
Boone referred comment to Macon lawyer Tom Richardson, saying the citys insurance company has appointed him to represent Gordon in the case.
Attempts to reach Richardson, the mayor and the mayors lawyer were unsuccessful Friday.
Brown alleges shes been harassed and that the mayors reprimand constitutes retaliation.
She is seeking compensation for emotional pain and suffering, anxiety, stress, depression and humiliation, an injunction, and the payment of attorneys fees and court costs.
A hearing is scheduled for July 25 in a separate lawsuit filed by the Concerned Citizens of Gordon group who seek to remove Whipple-Lue from office. Their suit alleges the mayor has violated the states open meetings law on multiple occasions.
Brown and three other city employees filed complaints with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission earlier this year alleging racial discrimination has created a hostile work environment. Other employees filing EEOC claims include Police Chief Rupert Mike Hall, Deputy City Clerk Heather Hawver and Public Works Director Melvin Lawrence.
The EEOC complaints still are pending.
Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report. To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398.