Council responds to McPhillips’ complaint

Published 2:56 pm Thursday, February 21, 2019

In November of 2018, Montgomery attorney Julian McPhillips filed a complaint in Dallas County circuit court on behalf of Ronita Wade, the embattled city treasurer, detailing her struggles with the City of Selma.

On Thursday, the Selma City Council responded to that complaint, largely affirming the allegations made.

The council affirmed that Selma Mayor Darrio Melton “effectively removed her from the office of treasurer” when he placed her on paid administrative leave.

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The council’s response also verified that Wade was appointed to the position of treasurer, “an official position not subject to the Merit System,” in August of 2014 during the tenure of Mayor George Evans.

The council also affirmed that Wade was initially placed on administrative leave in September of 2017 by Melton, one week before terminating her employment, in violation of rule 11-43-81 of the Alabama Code, which states that the mayor can only remove the treasurer with the council’s approval.

Wade appealed her termination and was reinstated in October of 2017 on a vote by the council and “immediately upon her reinstatement” Melton “ignored the vote of the Selma City Council and placed Wade” on administrative leave again.

Wade was again terminated by Melton in December of 2017 and appealed in January of 2018 and was reinstated by the council the following month.

Wade worked as treasurer until she was again placed on leave in September of 2018, shortly before the city budget was supposed to be approved.

The council alleges in its response that it had “insufficient information to admit or deny” other allegations, including those in the complaint that state Melton under mined Wade “for many months with false allegations” that she was “under investigation.”

The council’s response also noted that it “has now acted and directed” Wade to “be restored to her office as treasurer” and that “the City of Selma is being hurt by the failure of the Mayor to restore her to her office as treasurer of the City of Selma.”

Further, in response to a statement in the complaint that urges the circuit court to take action to reinstate Wade, the council’s response states that Wade was placed on administrative leave “as a ploy by the Mayor to circumvent the statutory right of the City Council to confirm or reject the Mayor’s ability to remove from office someone elected by the City Council or appointed with its consent.”The council’s response ends by asking the court to direct Melton to remove Wade from administrative leave and restore her position “with the right and responsibility to fulfill all of her duties as treasurer of the City of Selma.”

The mayor’s office did not respond to a request for comment.