DIAMONDHEAD, MS (WLOX) - Richard Rose hasn't worked in weeks, and feels he may never get another job. When he was suspended as City Manager of Diamondhead, the words used by council members were not kind. Some said his attendance was an issue. Others said he was disorganized and had difficulty getting along with people.
Now, Rose is speaking out for the first time about the damage he says has been done to him.
"They have destroyed my career, my reputation, my credibility. My employability is now damaged forever because this has gone viral, these malicious attacks against me," Rose said.
Other words were also spoken at that April council meeting, with one official saying Rose was using what was close to extortion against the city for asking for nine month's severance pay in lieu of a public hearing. That drew a fiery response from Rose's attorney, Ben Bowden.
"There is no evidence whatsoever for extortion, none. You do not use criminal words to describe a conduct unless you better have the evidence," Bowden said.
Rose and his attorneys claim Mayor Tommy Schafer was behind the firing, because he wants to run the city as a strong mayor. James Halliday also represents Rose.
"This is a case where an elected public servant was attempting to surreptitiously change the form of government in violation, or unlawfully without legal authority to do so," Halliday explained.
In fact, on the advice of two council members, Rose recorded conversations between Schafer and himself in which the mayor orders Rose not to contact council members, which Rose says is part of the job. That drew another sharp rebuke from Halliday.
"This is a case that should be investigated by the Public Integrity Division of the Attorney General's Office," Halliday said.
Rose still wants a public hearing, but under certain conditions, according to Bowden.
"The city has to give Mr. Rose a designated time for a hearing so he can present witnesses, cross examine witnesses and present documentary evidence. 30 minutes, which the city has afforded him, is not sufficient" said Bowden.
For his part, Rose has one goal.
"All I want to do is to make known the truth, the reality of what was occurring in the city of Diamondhead," said Rose.
Rose says he may be willing to drop any potential lawsuit against the city if he is offered a public hearing with as much time as he needs. He also says city officials will have to retract what he says are damaging statements made against him in public.
WLOX News did reach out to Schafer for comment on this story, and his reaction to the tape recorded conversations. He declined to comment because of potential litigation between Rose and the city.