DOUGHERTY CO., GA (WALB) - The county's interim administrator has put the county on notice that he will seek $3 million in damages.
Michael McCoy was named the county's interim administrator on Monday following a failed attempt by some commissioners to hire a co-county manager.
But, McCoy claims he is being secretly blocked from getting the full position in direct retaliation to events following an incident with a county commissioner in 2016.
"Basically, we believe Mr. McCoy is being retaliated against because he was a whistleblower," said McCoy's Attorney Maurice King of Albany.
A whistleblower after McCoy first filed a police report in April 2016, during a county-funded school trip to Savannah where McCoy served as a chaperone.
District 2 Commissioner John Hayes was also in Savannah, and McCoy reported that Hayes was physically and verbally abusive to him.
McCoy later filed a formal complaint, then a million dollar lawsuit, which was settled in December 2016.
"It was that situation, but there was also some information dealing with public funds and that type stuff," said King.
Since that time, King thinks a majority of commissioners have carried an illegal motivation to block McCoy from becoming the county's next administrator.
"The information we have is that maybe Mr. McCoy has always been one vote away from being appointed the county administrator," said King.
In the ante litem notice, dated January 16, 2018, it's written that the "most disturbing aspect of the discriminatory and/or retaliatory treatment that Mr. McCoy is being subjected to is that the complexion of the individuals engaging in that treatment has changed."
Meaning that the commissioners opposing McCoy, an African American, are black.
McCoy's attorney said the embattled administrator still desires the county's top job.
"He does. Because he worked his way up. He has put in the time and the effort and he has the qualifications. There is no legal justification not to give him the job," said King.
Former County Administrator Richard Crowdis announced in March 2017 that he was retiring after nearly 20 years of service. Shortly after, the county began a national search for a replacement, enlisting the Carl Vinson Institute of Government's Strategic Operations and Planning Division at the University of Georgia.
On December 11, 2017, the county announced it was broadening the search for its next administrator, after interviewing 115 people and narrowing the candidates down to five people with the help of the independent Carl Vinson Institute.
McCoy was one of the five recommended people.
The county has cooperated with requests for information, but county leaders declined to comment for this story on Wednesday.