Worth 911 Chief wants job, back pay

Published: Oct. 1, 2013 at 4:42 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 6, 2013 at 9:03 PM EDT
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Joe Gaines provides Clem with the reasons for her termination
Joe Gaines provides Clem with the reasons for her termination

SYLVESTER, GA (WALB) - The fired Worth County E-911 Director is appealing her termination and asking for back pay.

Kennetha Clem told county leaders she was wrongfully let go and harassed by some commissioners for months prior to her termination. Some commissioners say her firing was illegal.

Chairman Mike Cosby and Commissioners Joe Gaines and Mack Sutton said Clem was fired on an at-will basis. But suggestions that her termination may have been linked to some Facebook posts has raised some questions.

Some Commissioners say last Tuesday's three-to-noting vote to fire E-911 Director Kennetha Clem may violated state law.

"The girl has never been reprimanded.  She has brought 911 from the bottom of the list in the state of Georgia to one of the top three 911 centers in the state,"  said Bettye Bozeman, Worth Co. Commissioner.

The September 24th decision to fire Clem came after she posted Facebook comments with criminal information about two newly hired Public Works employees who are sex offenders.

The chairman said Clem used her position to obtain sensitive information, but others say all the information was discussed in a public meeting on September 10th. "There is no policy in our personnel policy about Facebook, nor any social media.  She did nothing wrong, it was all discussed right here in this board meeting,"  Bozeman said.

And others agree. "There again, that refers back to the County Attorney.  You know, he said that comes under the act of Freedom of Speech," said Billy McDonald, Worth Co. Commissioner.

Some say her firing could be retaliation. Clem said in an off camera interview that her husband joined the recall committee to remove Chairman Cosby two days prior to her termination.

Bozeman and McDonald say their attorneys advised them not to attend last Tuesday's meeting for fear they'd be breaking state law.

"This thing started off on September 19th with Commissioner Gaines making a motion to go into executive session for issues.  Issues no reason to go into Executive session.  It has to be attorney-client privilege, personnel or land acquisition,"  said Bozeman.

Clem declined to speak on camera, but says she was harassed by Chairman Mike Cosby and Commissioner Joe Gaines. She claims to have recordings of verbal abuse and taunting, which she says she may make public in the future.

The Chairman didn't respond to our calls for a statement. In a previous interview, Commissioner Joe Gaines denied any illegal activity.

Clem says she wasn't notified of last week's special called meeting until after she was fired.  Clem and Bozeman say the Attorney General's office is reviewing 12 possible violations of Sunshine laws by Cosby, but they did not provide details.

There is a petition circulating to recall Cosby.

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