City suspends three employees

Published 12:05 am Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The fate of three Selma city employees named by a state audit as responsible for $30,000 in missing money from the municipal court still is uncertain.

The three women Lynecia Steele, Zenetta Irby and Laura Stowers are suspended indefinitely without pay.

The Selma City Council met in a closed-door session for 30 minutes to discuss the three and two public works employees accused of stealing car parts from one car and installing them on another.

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No vote was taken coming out of executive session. Council members declined to discuss the issues taken up in the session held at the end of the regular council meeting.

Steele, Irby and Stowers were cited in an auditor’s report released last fall by the Alabama Examiners of Public Accounts. Each have denied any responsibility for the misappropriated funds and do not intend to pay back the money.

The report states Irby, an assistant tax collector, owes $5,150; Steele, an accounts clerk, owes $14,925.50 and Stowers, the chief magistrate in municipal court owes $9,659.10.

Last October, the mayor transferred the three women to different jobs within the city. But on Monday, they were officially suspended.

The next step is for the women to appeal the suspensions if they so choose. Personnel rules state suspended employees have 10 days to request a hearing before the personnel board.

The Alabama Open Meetings act allows public bodies to meet behind closed doors for various reasons, including job performance, general reputation and character, physical condition, professional competence and mental health.

The general rule is discussions about an individual’s general reputation and character are subject to executive session for all individuals except when the discussion also concerns the individual’s job performance, such as observed activities on the job of certain high-level public employees and officials.