DIAMONDHEAD, MS (WLOX) - The attorneys representing Diamondhead's former City Manager, Richard Rose, are saying the city did not properly terminate Rose; therefore, he is still technically the city manager. That's despite Tuesday's announcement of a new manager being hired.
Rose claims he was defamed by the city, and they didn't properly back the claims they made against him.
On Friday, WLOX News spoke to both the city's attorney and Rose's attorneys. James Halliday is one of the attorneys representing Rose. He says his client was improperly terminated and defamed by the city, and they are taking the matter to court.
Halliday claims that the June 3, city council meeting minutes should have included the wording that Rose was terminated, but he says it only states Rose was suspended without pay. He also says Rose wasn't given the opportunity to address the council concerning his termination during that meeting.
"According to the minutes, they were not allowed to vote on Rose's termination or not. Now I read in the paper just yesterday that they've turned around and hired a new city manager when Mr. Rose is still technically the city manager, just suspended without pay for the City of Diamondhead. That's completely improper and violation of state law," Halliday said.
Diamondhead city leaders voted to remove the former city manager back in April due to what they called performance issues. According to the city's attorney, Sean Tindell, the city followed the law when removing Rose.
He says the city voted during that April 23, meeting and didn't need to do it a second time. Tindell also says the city was required to offer Rose a public hearing and that Rose agreed, but never showed up to the June 3 meeting. Lastly, Tindell says grievances explaining why the city wanted to terminate Rose were sent over to him.
Halliday says the claims the city made against Rose have ruined his name and they gave claims with no foundation.
"They just didn't keep this in the City of Diamondhead. They went out and promulgated the information without any foundation against Mr. Rose, alleging numerous infractions alleged by his not doing his job properly, and there's no foundation on fact for any of those allegations," Halliday said.
Halliday says an auditor came into the city prior to Rose's removal and said the city was fine and Rose was doing a good job. So why does he think Rose was terminated?
According Halliday, Rose opposed the mayor wanting to change the form of government where the mayor would have more power than the city manager. Tindell says the law doesn't allow the mayor to make the decision to change the form of government in the city. He says that move has to go before the council and ultimately residents have to vote on a change.
The mayor says he's not going to comment on pending litigation, and there's a lot of misinformation regarding this matter.
Rose's attorney says they have a declaratory judgment pending before a judge at the Hancock County Circuit Court, and they put the city on notice that they intend to file a lawsuit under the Mississippi Torts Claims Act for defaming and improperly terminating Rose.