Thursday, October 23, 2008

Talkin' 'Bout Ethics and My Termination

We recently wondered if Alabama Governor Bob Riley could face a Sarah Palin/Troopergate sort of ethics problem in the aftermath of my unlawful termination from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).

A growing body of evidence, which we will be laying out here at Legal Schnauzer, suggests that people with close connections to Riley got me fired at UAB. That's the kind of thing that got Palin into ethical hot water in Alaska when her underlings tried to get State Trooper Mike Wooten fired.

(By the way, The Public Record, an independent investigative-journalism
Web site, picked up on our Riley/ethics piece. You can check it out here.)

I noted in my previous post that I think it's unlikely the Alabama Ethics Commission will go after Riley & Co. regarding my termination. But the issue doesn't end there.

What about people within UAB who have participated in my firing?

Let's return to section 36-25-24(c) of the Code of Alabama. And here is our key passage:

No public employee shall file a complaint or OTHERWISE INITIATE ACTION AGAINST A PUBLIC OFFICIAL OR OTHER PUBLIC EMPLOYEE without a good faith basis for believing the the complaint to be true and accurate.

In other words, it's a serious ethical no-no in Alabama to initiate action against a public employee (which I was) when you know the action is based on false information.

I sat through my entire grievance hearing, and it was clear that there was zero documentation or evidence of any kind to support discipline against me, much less termination, under university policy. Evidence suggests that a whole boatload of UAB employees participated in this action, knowing the charges against me were false.

Let's consider the roll call of honor:

* Janice Ward--HR representative for my department

* Anita Bonasera--director of Employee Relations

* Gary Mans--director of Media Relations

* Pam Powell--director of Publications Office (my supervisor)

* Dale Turnbough--associate vice president for public relations and marketing (Powell's supervisor)

* Shirley Salloway Kahn--vice president for development, alumni and external relations (Turnbough's supervisor)

* Carol Garrison--president of UAB (everybody's supervisor)

So there you have it, seven folks going right up the ladder to the top of the university. And I'm not including members of the Board of Trustees (of which Bob Riley is ex oficio president) or University of Alabama System Office, who might have known this was going on--or even helped pull it off.

Did these folks violate Section 36-25-24(c) of the Code of Alabama?

We will be examining that issue in the days and weeks ahead.

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