DIAMONDHEAD, MS (WLOX) - Pay me and I'll walk away. That is the ultimatum former city manager Richard Rose gave to city officials, according to an appeal filed on behalf of the city of Diamondhead.
Court documents reveal that ultimatum was recorded in a phone conversation between Rose and city attorney Sean Tindell. The documents state Rose said he would leave the city if they "just paid me for nine months, or as Dub said, just write me a check for one year's salary, and I'll walk away and be done with it. And I will never expose anything, just like I didn't do at D'Iberville and I never have, and I'm not going to."
"When faced with the ultimatum from the former city manager, they had a decision to make," Tindell said. "Adhere to his demands and pay the equivalent of an illegal salary, or they could do what they did do, which is to say 'no' and move forward and take the city in another direction."
Rose was terminated in June. He applied for unemployment benefits, but was rejected by the Mississippi Department of Employment Security. Rose's attorney appealed and an administrative judge with the department of employment security ruled in Rose's favor saying "the problem was that his political bosses used him as a pawn in their schemes to wrangle a little more power."
Rose is now getting unemployment benefits. Tindell believes that was the wrong decision and is speaking out after the attack on Diamondhead leaders.
"We have sat idly by since the litigation began and thought the best way to get these matters heard is in a court of law, not in a court public opinion," Tindell said. "Because of that, these attacks have been thrown at the city council and mayor. It's unfortunate. These men are true public servants; the city councilmen only make $100 a month. They are not doing it to make money; they are doing it because they care about future of the city of Diamondhead."
In the appeal, Tindell stated there were "numerous" reasons Rose was fired, including failing to listen to the council, absenteeism, and closing city hall on a non-designated holiday.
"We had a public meeting and the list of reasons were provided," Tindell said, "including most importantly the final straw, which was the manner in which the former city manager put forth his deal in which he would leave quietly."
According to the court documents, Rose said, "Well, here's the deal. Here's what I'd like, the same thing I had at D'Iberville: nine months. They hire somebody else, and they just pay me. They pay me nine months, pay my insurance for nine months, from May 1st or whatever, and pay my insurance benefits, my accumulated sick leave, comp time, and all that - - well, there won't be any comp time obviously, sick leave, vacation. Just like they did at D'Iberville. And I'll never show up, and I'll never say a word."
Tindell believes those reasons show negligence, which means Rose should not be entitled to unemployment.
Rose was manager of D'Iberville from 2004 to 2009 when the city council decided not to renew his contract. Rose served as city manager of Diamondhead from 2012 to June 2014.