Suit against city continues

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 3, 2006

The Selma Times-Journal

Bob Sanders, a former city of Selma employee who is suing the city for wrongful termination, said a recent news report “missed the boat entirely.”

“I did see what was done on Channel 8 at 6 tonight,” Sanders said Tuesday.

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“They missed the boat entirely.

It was not a discrimination case.

This was a freedom of speech (First Amendment) case.

It was for being dismissed as part of a cover-up.”

Sanders said the news report

claimed that the appeal date had passed.

“The clock doesn’t even start until I receive notice,” Sanders said.

“I have not received notice yet. I suspect that Jimmy Nunn is working from the EEOC complaint.

That expired before this case was ever filed in November 2004.

It is not the same case.”

Sanders, former finance director for the city, said EEOC filing was necessary to receive a letter denying him assistance before he could go forward with his whistleblower lawsuit against the city.

“We haven’t received any paperwork yet,” Mayor James Perkins Jr. said.

“This was never about racial discrimination,” Sanders said. “It’s about retaliatory treatment I received for pointing out financial wrongdoing by the mayor and city government.”

Sanders’ 12-point list of grievances include “meddling in the official accounting records … annexing a seven-mile area in every direction outside of Selma” and use of public funds to facilitate the plan, misuse of public funds, and misuse of public office.

His complaints are specifically against his former employer: the city of Selma and the mayor.

“The city has an insurance company for errors and ommissions,” Sanders said.

“We’re filing against the insurance company.

They say that if this is a deliberate act, we don’t cover it.

Like, if you intentionally rammed someone with your car, your insurance company wouldn’t cover that.”

Sanders was dismissed as finance director by the Selma City Council on Nov. 25, 2002.

His lawsuit alleges that the mayor violated his right to freedom of speech by terminating him.

The lawsuit states that Sanders was fired for speaking out against the annexation of Valley Grande and the surrounding area,

as well as pointing out discrepancies in the city’s accounting practices done at the mayor’s direction.

“If the city of Selma realistically expects to ever recruit desirable industry to the area, integrity at City Hall is going to be critical,” Sanders says.

Sanders is seeking $2 million in damages against the city of Selma.

The case is filed in federal court in Mobile. Sanders is represented by Attorney Jim Zeigler of Mobile.