Albany judges won't hear McCoy civil suit; EEOC complaint pending

Published: Apr. 12, 2018 at 3:47 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 12, 2018 at 8:47 PM EDT
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Henry Williams addressing the county commission Monday. Commissioner Johnson is seen listening...
Henry Williams addressing the county commission Monday. Commissioner Johnson is seen listening to his comments. (Source: WALB)
Mike Mc
Mike Mc

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - All three of Dougherty County's Superior Court judges have filed an Order of Recusal in the $3 million legal case of Michael McCoy v. Dougherty County, Ga. et. al.

McCoy is suing because he said he is being passed over for the permanent spot of the county administrator as retaliation for his role as a whistleblower.

McCoy has been the interim since the retirement of former Administrator Richard Crowdis.

McCoy's attorney, Maurice King, said that a complaint will be filed Thursday with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Atlanta. The complaint will list McCoy's discrimination and harassment charges against the county commission, and specifically Commissioner John Hayes.

King said this invites the federal government into the matter.

In their recusal, the Dougherty County judges, Willie Lockette, Stephen Goss, and Denise Marshall, cited Superior Court Rule 25.7.

Rule 25.7. Voluntary Recusal (Amended effective January 31, 1991.)

If a judge, either on the motion of one of the parties or the judge's own motion, voluntarily disqualifies, another judge, selected by the procedure set forth in Rule 25.4, shall be assigned to hear the matter involved.

A voluntary recusal shall not be construed as either an admission or denial to any allegations which have been set out in the motion.

On Thursday, the Dougherty County Sheriff's office confirmed deputies served the Michael McCoy civil lawsuit to four county commissioners, and the county as a whole. The lawsuits were served prior to a 10 a.m. scheduled executive session to discuss pending litigation. Although no one would talk with WALB on the record about the scope of the meeting, we do know that Gloria Gaines, Anthony Jones, John Hayes, and Clinton Johnson were served.

When Commissioner Johnson was asked, as he was exiting the government center Thursday, about allegations of possible payouts, and even if Albany attorney Henry Williams was influencing his vote, Johnson responded, "Who is Henry Williams?"

Henry Williams addressed the county commission Monday, where Commissioner Johnson was present, during a public comment opportunity, about the McCoy matter.

"How is it that the minority gets to abuse the majority, because they don't like the vote?" questioned Williams.

On Monday, the Dougherty County Commission voted against reconsidering McCoy for the permanent administrator position.

McCoy was deemed the last "most qualified" candidate for the position that was still being considered.

Williams was one of the few people going on the record during two recent county meetings expressing support of the majority's decision to withhold a job offer to Michael McCoy. More than a dozen citizens and county employees have attended these public meetings in vocal support of McCoy.

McCoy's attorney Maurice King said he has proof of what he thinks could be criminal wrong-doing, found in a statement released by Commissioner John Hayes before a public vote was made to restart the search for a new county administrator, after McCoy was named the most qualified candidate, twice.

"But, we have reason to believe that the statement Mr. Hayes released might have been drafted before the vote, which would mean that the commissioners who were sued got together before the vote was taken, and decided how they were going to vote, and that would violate the open meetings act," King said.

King said it is unusual for judges to recuse themselves this early in a civil case, before the defense files a response.

There have been questions about whether Commissioner Hayes should recuse himself from voting on McCoy's employment, but Hayes has continued to vote on the matter.

We reached out to Spencer Lee, Dougherty County's attorney, who said he could not comment on this case, as it is pending litigation.

Attorney King believes McCoy is being passed over in retaliation for a settlement in a complaint against a commissioner.

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