By Kevin Hogencamp
Ousted airport operations and maintenance manager Sean Reddish has leveled charges that an airport safety officer illegally used a police computer for a verification check on Reddish’s vehicle’s license tag.
Reddish filed a complaint with the Albany police chief, Dougherty County sheriff and Dougherty district attorney’s office.
The primary subject of Reddish’s complaint, Eric Roney, is also among the airport officers whose actions are under review in a sexual misconduct allegation at the airport.
In violation of city policy, inconsistent with earlier personnel decisions and without explanation, Albany lame-duck City Manager Alfred Lott last week upheld the firing of Reddish, who is under indictment on theft charges for cashing in scrap metal that city officials say belonged to the airport.
Reddish says that Lott already had his mind made up before conduct his termination hearing, and said Lott’s decision was retaliatory and racially motivated.
Reddish says that airport Director Yvette Aehle told him that Roney used the Georgia Crime Information Center (GCIC) for a verification check on Reddish’s automobile license tag in May 2010. Misusing the GCIC is a criminal violation punishable by a fine and jail time.
Following is a copy of Reddish’s complaint, sent to authorities Tuesday night, about Roney and related activities at the airport.
“I was employed at Southwest Georgia Regional Airport from November 2009 until recently. Earlier this year, I parked one of my cars outside of my office building. I immediately notified Chief Ford and Director Yvette Aehle that it was my car there and they were OK with it at the time. At times I would drive that car and leave another one, between 3 cars. The main reason was lack of space at home and it was in the works to sell a car. Prior to this, my team had verbal permission to use the shop after hours if we were off the clock etc. There later came a complaint and me and my team were instructed not to use the shop. I then told Yvette that I would make space to move the car to avoid conflict and that there would be no further use of the shop.
“After this I found that Airport Safety Shift Supervisor Eric Roney was poking around my cars. I believe at times he thought I was gone for the day but I actually was not. I approached the Director and Chief about this. They both told me that they had told Eric Roney to leave the cars alone and it was OK for me to have it parked there. At this point, I was satisfied that the issue was resolved. I was then told through a subordinate employee that Eric Roney was taking pictures of my cars and planned on having one towed. I wrote an email and spoke to the Director about my concerns that I was being harassed. I got an email reply that it was laid to rest and assumed that it was a personnel matter for the Chief Ford and Yvette. In a follow-up conversation, Yvette told me that Eric Roney took it upon himself to run my tags and/or VINs which is the point of this complaint.
“I have consulted with various people in the legal and LEO fields about my current case and some of the events that led up to my arrest and dismissal. I did not realize the severity of Eric Roney abusing his authority to gain unwarranted information on me until recently. There was absolutely no justification for a co-worker (in a lower position than mine) to be using the GCIC or other means to gain information on me. Eric Roney’s immediate supervisor and director were aware of the car(s) before the hi-jinks started. Had he concerns of me and/or my cars he should of taken them up with his chain of command instead of launching his own insubordinate and unauthorized investigation. It is common knowledge at the airport that Eric Roney has made attempts to aggravate my current case again jumping his chain of command.
“I now have concerns of whether I am getting a clean deal with this kind of behavior going on and I am trying to find out if my civil rights were violated. Now that I know the severity of GCIC/NCIC abuse, I ask that this matter be fully investigated without prejudice to my current situation.
“I am prepared to report this to the GBI if necessary but their website instructs you to report concerns to the local authorities first. I can provide at least some of the emails surrounding this issue if need be. These events occurred in early to mid May 2010.”