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Sean Reddish: Fired worker wins unemployment

By   /   February 20, 2011  /   Comments

By Kevin Hogencamp

If Round 1 of Sean Reddish’s battle against the City of Albany is any indication, the fired and indicted airport operations and maintenance manger may soon his get job back.

The Georgia Department of Labor last week ruled that Reddish is due unemployment compensation because of the city’s failure to provide evidence that he failed to perform his duties or follow orders, rules or instructions.

At city hall’s urging, Reddish is under indictment on theft charges for cashing in on $1,100 of scrap metal at the airport. Still, the Department of Labor concluded – based on evidence presented in a hearing – that no evidence of theft was presented by the city.

“The testimony of the employer is hearsay in regard to the incident. The employer did not provide any witnesses to the incident,” Department of Labor hearing officer Regina Stanley wrote on Feb. 1. “The testimony of the claimant (Reddish) is firsthand and therefore carries the greater weight of evidence. The claimant is not at fault in his discharge.”

City Manager Alfred Lott refused to answer The Albany Journal’s questions about Reddish’s case, including the city’s unsuccessful effort to prevent Reddish from collecting unemployment compensation. The city has until Feb. 16 to appeal the Department of Labor decision.

In violation of city policy, inconsistent with earlier personnel decisions and without explanation, Lott late last year upheld Reddish’s firing by airport director Yvette Aehle. City policy requires that an employee under felony indictment to be suspended without pay pending the outcome of the criminal case.

Indeed, if the city had followed its policy, the government would have had a net savings in the matter, because unemployment benefits would not have been an issue. Now Reddish, who is white, says he is planning to file a discrimination complaint against Lott, who is black.

“I still strongly contend that I am innocent of committing any crime and my termination was an egregious abuse of power,” he said in an interview. “I am moving forward with a complaint to the EEOC.”
“There is now an official ruling in my case by a 3rd party governmental agency without a political agenda. They have reviewed the evidence and I believe their findings will resonate in the criminal case and with the EEOC.”

Reddish’s criminal case has not been resolved; he maintains his innocence. Yet, airport Director Yvette Aehle fired Reddish, who appealed the decision.

Lott wrote in a Nov. 12 letters to Reddish’s attorney, Phil Cannon, after Reddish’s appeal hearing:

“I have reviewed all documents presented in Ms. Aehle’s termination recommendation and studied all documents and issues presented at the name clearing/appeal hearing of your client. Accordingly, I have decided to sustain Ms. Aehle’s termination recommendation. As a result, your client Sean C. Reddish’s employment with the City of Albany, Georgia is terminated, immediately. I wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors.”

In addition to violating personnel policy, Lott did not follow protocol by citing the reason Reddish was fired. Meanwhile, in at least three recent cases, the city did not fire employees under felony indictment.

Reddish denies the theft charges and has produced a letter from a contractor stating that the contractor gave him the metal – old signage that had been replaced. Lott refuses to answer questions about the case, including whether he directed Aehle to violate policy and fire Reddish.

Upon Reddish’s arrest, Aehle maintained that Reddish didn’t break the law, but rather used bad judgment. Indeed, Aehle previously allowed Reddish and others bring a smaller amount of scrap metal to a recycling center to raise money for employee activities such as pizza parties, but Aehle and Reddish said that the employees never took Aehle up on her offer.

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  1. bella says:

    It’s crazy that when this story broke, everyone was against this guy but now all of a sudden he’s some kind of martyr. Hypocrites.

    1. BillS says:

      Plenty of hypocrites in Albany. Many of them were the ones running the bandwagon accusatory comments in the beginning. More and more facts are being exposed in this matter so now the witch hunters are mum. I don’t think martyr is correct but he was victim of the bad leadership that is rampant in the city of Albany.

  2. BillS says:

    The city commission needs to get its head out of the sand and other places and start fixing the Lott of bungles.

  3. jimmy says:

    it is hearsay cause the horny toads told lies to take him and another white boy down! the directors and city try to cover it up but now they losing. dont get in chief horny toad way of relaxing cause he will can get you gone!

  4. BillS says:

    A little off topic but maybe not: Lame Duck Loot makes a hasty sweeping departmental change on 2-7-11, only after 3 botched attempts of getting the proper talent to head the civic center.

    On 2-9-11 the Albany Journal reports, proof positive, that (a) Lame Duck Loot substantially reduced the discipline given to 2 black airport employees for very serious offenses which directly contradicts (b) the fact that Lame Duck Loot handled Reddish with extremely heavy hands and in strong violation of city policy. In fact, the Ga DOL ruling in Reddish’s favor shows just how stupid the city’s case against Reddish has become. Unfortunately, Loot’s pride is too big to back down from this chain of mistakes. This alone is more than enough for the EEOC to take notice but then let’s add the Jolivette and Fletcher cases and so on.

    On 2-10-11 news breaks that Loot is (unofficially) removed as a candidate from the Savannah city manager’s because of the undisclosed liabilities that they see in him.

    On 2-14-11, Loot puts in his much needed notice and without patting himself on the back. He then rattles bantha fodder to the press about some secret leadership job in DC that no one believes anyway.

    So yes, there is damage control on Loot’s behalf; but this chain of events in the past several weeks seem to be awful coincidental with his suddon change of plans. Have the commisioners and the good doctor finally had their fill of the mismanagement and liabilities that Alfred D. Lott ABCD – XYZ continues to bring here?

    He certainly has created a liabilty in this case.

  5. Clark says:

    The last parts says it all. Yvette gave him and others permission to a smaller amount of scrap metal. He don’t do that but he scraps something a guy gave to him and saves parts and gets railroaded. Meanwhile they are having orgys at the safety office and trying to take other people down doing and get attaboys from Lott. This would be comical if they werent screwing people.

  6. Truth B Known says:

    Lott handled so many cases wrong.Mine was one,and he was told so in a meeting.guess what little bird told me that?See ya soon Loot.

About the author

Owner / Editor / Writer

Tom Knighton is the publisher of The Albany Journal. In November, 2011, he became the first blogger to take over a newspaper anywhere in the world. In August of 2012, he made the difficult decision to take the Journal out of print circulation and become an online news agency, a first for the Albany area.

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