A Warner Robins city employee’s behavior surrounding an October incident in which she was accused of attempting to break into the mayor’s office led to her pending dismissal, according to a letter from acting City Clerk Bill Harte.
The Monday letter notifies Christine Armstrong, an information technology employee, that she is suspended without pay pending termination of her employment with the city.
Until this week, Armstrong and former City Clerk Stan Martin were on paid administrative leave while the GBI looked into the Oct. 7 incident in which they were accused of attempting to gain access to the mayor’s office through the ceiling of a connecting office. The locks on the mayor’s office were changed after the Sept. 28 death of Mayor Donald Walker.
Last week, a Houston County grand jury decided no charges would be brought against the pair. City Council fired Martin on Tuesday.
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In his letter to Armstrong, Harte cites her alleged violation of three sections of city code as the reason for the termination.
Armstrong refused to comment for this story.
According to the letter, Armstrong violated the code when she attempted to enter the mayor’s office without authorization.
Mayor John Havrilla previously issued a directive that no one was to enter the space without his permission, the letter states.
In addition, the letter states that Armstrong was uncooperative and “unilaterally terminated an interview” with the GBI about the incident.
Martin, who denies wrongdoing, said the pair looked in the ceiling tiles after Armstrong told him about a rumor that guns and money were hidden there.
In this instance, Armstrong failed to take “time and proper action to report to the appropriate officials” the rumors, the letter states.
As a result, the incident has led to extensive media coverage and public rumor, which has embarrassed and harmed the city’s reputation, according to the letter.
“Your actions of October 7, 2009 — when construed in light of the sensitive nature of your job duties and the access you have to the City’s network servers, AS400 and other systems — deem it appropriate that your employment with the City of Warner Robins be terminated,” Harte writes in the letter.
Harte said Tuesday that Armstrong has until Friday to appeal the decision.
If the firing is upheld, she may request a hearing with an administrative judge, he said.
Information from The Telegraph’s archives was included in this report.
Telegraph staff writer Andrea Castillo contributed to this report.
To contact writer Jennifer Burk, call 256-9705.