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Public works employees fired for misconduct


City Attorney Jeff Turnage

City Attorney Jeff Turnage



Nathan Gregory



Columbus councilmen fired two public works employees for misconduct Tuesday.  


The identities of the two employees terminated during the council meeting were not revealed because the move was a personnel matter discussed in executive session. City officials are not obligated to discuss the specifics of such matters.  


Council attorney Jeff Turnage announced the action taken following the executive session. 


Last month, the council heard a report from Robyn Eastman of city project managing firm J5 Broaddus on the city's public works department and approved the hire of J5 Broaddus employee Derrick Nash, who was authorized to serve as the department's deputy director. Nash's role for the city -- to assist public works director Casey Bush -- comes at no cost and will last six months. The city has the option to continue employing Nash after six months if it reimburses J5 Broaddus for his salary. 


In April, Eastman revealed the results of a study that found a potential $1 million in waste in labor compensation for the public works department, which has a $3.5 million yearly payroll. Before Tuesday's action, the department had 67 employees. 


During a budget work session last month, the council and Mayor Robert Smith narrowly voted against studying the possibility of privatizing the public works department as a cost cutting measure. 


Also on Tuesday, the council heard three other personnel matters. It voted to suspend a police officer for three days without pay pursuant to the vehicle accident guidelines for a wreck he was involved in, according to Turnage. Councilmen also voted to suspend two police department employees with pay during an investigation into possible misconduct. 


In other business:  


■ The council approved the hire of Tony McCoy as an assistant police chief pending completion of a physical and drug screen; 


■ The council approved the promotion of Mark Ward from battalion chief to assistant fire chief and the hire of Madison Guyton as an entry level firefighter pending a physical and drug screen.


Nathan Gregory covers city and county government for The Dispatch.



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