City treasurer says her signature is being used without her permission

Published 7:53 pm Wednesday, December 20, 2017

City Treasurer Ronita Wade’s electronic signature has been removed from all city of Selma documents after Mayor Darrio Melton and Council President Corey Bowie received a letter from her attorney last week.

“It has come to my attention that the signature of my client Ronita Wade is being copied and used without her knowledge and permission, as in a rubber stamp and electronic signature,” wrote Julian McPhillips, Wade’s attorney, in the letter dated Dec. 14.

The letter requests the city “cease and desist” using Wade’s signature until she is reinstated.

Wade was placed on paid administrative leave in September after Melton said she had been insubordinate and was working to undermine him. She denied those charges and said she was being punished for not supporting Melton politically.

She was then fired on Sept. 27 and reinstated by the Selma City Council on Oct. 10. Two days later, she was placed on paid administrative leave again.

McPhillips said he requested Wade’s signature be removed because it is “wrongfully being attributed to checks and letters which she has no knowledge.”

“We’re just saying that her signature is not valid,” McPhillips said Wednesday. “If she’s on a leave of absence, she can’t look at anything, and if they attribute things to her, you know, I’d be concerned about the validity of her signature on a check when she’s not there to approve it.”

Melton said her signature was removed after receiving the letter from McPhillips.

“They asked us to remove her signature, and we did what they asked us to do,” Melton said Wednesday.

“It’s a lawyer trying to get the publicity and trying to make a big deal about something that’s not a big deal.”

Melton said Wade’s signature was still on city accounts because she is on leave.

“She’s always been on the accounts as city treasurer, so being on administrative leave or being out on vacation, we don’t remove people’s signature off stuff when they go on vacation or if they’re out on leave,” Melton said.

Wade has filed a charge of sex discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Birmingham. Before she was reinstated, she filed a notice of claim against the city and demanded her job back or a $100,000 settlement.

Melton said the council has scheduled a meeting Friday morning at 9:30 a.m. to discuss Wade’s future and other business items.