For the past few months, Ward 5 Councilmember Weston Lindemann has been pushing for an investigation into the city’s chief administrative officer, Richie McAlister. While an official investigation has not been voted on, the council has voted to host a public meeting for current and former city employees to speak, if they have complaints about the CAO and a hostile work environment. “Although it’s technically just a special meeting for the purpose of an investigation, we’re going to conduct it like a public hearing. Employees who signed up will have an opportunity to speak and hand over any documents or written statements, I’ve heard there will be an attorney to represent a couple of people who can’t be there Tuesday. We’ll be able to ask them questions and see how long the conversation goes and what information we get,” said Lindemann.
Current and previous employees have until Friday to sign up to speak, but Mayor Percy Bland said there are at least five different processes in which employees can file a complaint, should they have one. He also stated there have not been any so far. The mayor believes this is simply a personal attack on McAlister. The administration has requested the list of employees that sign up, but Lindemann says he doesn’t want them to have it. “I am advocating that we do not disclose that list ahead of time to the administration. That list will be public at Tuesday’s meeting. So, they can find out who signed up to speak then. There’s no reason they should have advanced knowledge of that. In my opinion, it only gives them the opportunity to contact those employees and try to pressure them to back down,” said Lindemann.
Councilman Dr. George Thomas and Councilwoman Fannie Johnson voted against the public meeting. Mayor Bland and Dr. Thomas believe the council should move forward. If current or former employees wish to sign up, they must go to the third floor of city hall by Friday. The public meeting will be next Tuesday at 9 a.m.