The attorney for a top Clayton County government official ousted this week sent a letter to the Attorney General’s office Wednesday saying Clayton officials violated the Open Meetings Act.
Clayton Commissioners fired 911 department head Greg Porter Tuesday night after hearing a series of charges leveled against Porter. He was accused of creating a hostile work environment, refusing to meet with his bosses about the matter and for falsifying time records for unaccounted-for absences from work.
“It’s disrespectful to a 30-year employee,” Porter told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution after the board’s Tuesday night decision.”It’s been an ongoing retaliatory workplace for me.”
Porter’s attorney Wayne Kendall called the hearing “unlawful, illegal and a violation of the Open Meetings Act and the the due process clause of the United States Constitution.” He said the hearing was not properly placed on the commissioner’s agenda and his client was given less than 24 hours notice about Tuesday’s meeting.
“I would appreciate it if your office would conduct an inquiry into this matter and make the appropriate determinations,” Kendall said in his letter dated Wednesday to Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Coangelo.
Tuesday’s hearing took place at the end of the commission’s regular meeting after most of the chamber was cleared of spectators. As a department head, Porter reports directly to the commission and therefore the board was solely responsible for deciding whether to keep or fire him, county attorney Jack Hancock said. The board voted unanimously to terminate Porter.
It is unclear what Porter’s next move will be but Kendall said he believed Tuesday’s action was in retaliation for Porter’s whistleblower suit against the county. Porter filed the suit in January 2016 shortly after he was removed as Clayton Police chief and reassigned to the 911 emergency dispatch department. Porter alleged he was demoted for bringing attention to problems he was having with Commission Chairman Jeff Turner. The lawsuit cited a Nov. 17, 2014 memo Porter sent to the commission accusing Turner of bypassing him and giving orders directly to police department employees. Porter also alleges that Turner made “questionable requests” involving police department resources.
Porter said the reassignment hurt his reputation and took him from overseeing a department with 600 employees and a $32.5 million annual budget to a department with fewer than 50 workers and an annual budget of $3.7 million. His reassignment also drew community opposition.
Tuesday night, Kendall argued that Porter was given short notice about the hearing. Nonetheless, the county proceeded with its case.
At the end of the night, Porter and Turner shook hands and hugged just before the two exited the building.
Despite such a show, Porter insisted Wednesday “This man has destroyed my career. We are not friends by any means.”