ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Albany city leaders are waiting to hear whether a high-ranking officer in the fire department will accept a demotion. Initially, Rod Jolivette was fired for misusing city property and personnel and then lying about it. He appealed.
As we first reported Monday, the city manager decided to demote Rod Jolievette two pay grades and put him on immediate suspension.
The matter Rod Jolivette is being disciplined for stems back to early April. According to a memo by Fire Chief James Carswell, Jolivette ordered an on-duty fire department crew to take a fire truck to a relative's home and remove mildewed carpet and furniture after their basement was flooded. Now, if he chooses, he'll get to stay with the city.
Rod Jolivette was placed on leave with pay as of April 16th for using city employees and resources to help out family members whose home had been flooded. For that and for lying during the investigation, Albany Fire Chief James Carswell decided to fire Jolivette, but that decision was appealed to the city manager, who went a different route.
"The decision is two fold," said Assistant City Manager Wes Smith. "One of which is to demote him from Assistant Chief to Lt. Which I believe is a two-rank reduction. His salary is reduced in accordance with that."
He's also been placed on 30 days suspension without pay beginning immediately, and he'll essentially be on probation for three months if he chooses to return to the department. "He'll be placed on a personal improvement plan of approximately 90 days which he must follow and successfully complete or he will be reconsidered for termination."
Commissioner Roger Marietta is glad the city manager opted to give Jolivette another chance. "I feel like the city treated Rod humanely," he said. "With 23 years in the fire department, I feel like he deserves a second chance and I fully support the city Manager's decision."
Smith said, "A lot of this has got to do with the fact that Mr. Jolivette has been with the city for a number of years. His record, particularly for the past three years, which is the benchmark in our system, is clean, so Mr. Lott felt like providing him with an opportunity to stay was the thing to do."
Jolivette's attorney, Johnnie Graham is out of town. She says she hasn't been able to reach Jolivette and she has no idea if he'll accept the demotion. The city is currently revamping its personnel system.
While every employee currently has the right to appeal their job status to the city manager, that right may not remain in the future.