Fired Fulton County manager loses Georgia supreme court appeal

Patrick O’Connor, Fulton’s former interim county manager, lost an appeal to the state supreme court after he was fired. JOHN SPINK/AJC FILE PHOTO
Patrick O’Connor, Fulton’s former interim county manager, lost an appeal to the state supreme court after he was fired. JOHN SPINK/AJC FILE PHOTO

An interim Fulton County manager, who was fired after a recording of him disparaging county leadership surfaced, has lost his appeal to the Georgia supreme court to get his job back.

Patrick O'Connor, who was the county's finance director for nearly two decades before being elevated, then dismissed, claimed that the county's process was flawed when it fired him in February 2015. O'Connor claimed he was entitled to back pay, or to be reinstated in his job.

In a unanimous opinion Wednesday, the court said that he was not.

O’Connor was an at-will employee, the court said, and could not demonstrate a “clear legal right” that he should have kept his job as finance manager after being dismissed as interim county manager.

Matt Maguire, an attorney who represented O’Connor, said he was disappointed in the opinion. Fulton County Attorney Patrise Perkins-Hooker said in a statement that she appreciated it.

O’Connor was fourth in a line of six interim and permanent county managers between Dec. 2012 and March 2015. In 2015, he attributed his firing to comments he made at a meeting with South Fulton Community Improvement District officials.

“This county hasn’t had serious leadership in years and years and years, ” O’Connor said on the recording, obtained by Channel 2 Action News.

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