Heath Allred, who served as Carbon Hill police chief from Aug. 16, 2010, to Nov. 5, 2012, filed the complaint Thursday, alleging he was never notified of any formal pending action to terminate his employment, either as the police chief or an employee of the city. The counts in the complaint include breach of contract, substantive due process, procedural due process, negligent hiring, training and supervision, negligence, violation of 11-43-230 of the Code of Alabama, class of one discrimination and freedom of association violation.
According to the complaint, Allred is asking for compensatory and punitive damages and hopes to deter any future wrongful intentional conduct by the city and its mayor.
Mayor James “Pee Wee” Richardson said Friday he had not received a copy of the complaint. He said it was his understanding the firing was completely within the law. Allred was fired on the day Richardson and the city council were sworn in.
“State law says that on the day we take over that we must appoint people into certain positions,” Richardson said. “If we appoint someone, the current police chief’s services are stopped at that time.”
Richardson said Allred wasn’t guarenteed a due process hearing because he had been appointed by a previous mayor and council.
“If he had been appointed by us, like in the case of (Kenneth) Bobo, then we would have had to have a hearing, just like we did with Bobo,” Richardson said.
Jasper attorney Nicholas Sparks, who is representing Allred, said he believes the mayor is wrong.
“The mayor is obviously deeply confused about the law,” he said. “The lawsuit will speak for itself.”
Allred also alleges his firing was due to the fact his wife was Richardson’s opponent in last year’s mayoral race. The complaint describes a conversation between Allred and Richardson on the day of the firing, saying, the city was going to go in a different direction and appoint a new police chief.
The complaint goes on to say Richardson said, “but you’ve known that” and “you knew this was coming.” The complaint alleges the two also discussed the mayoral race, with Richardson claiming Allred’s wife had talked bad about him in public and he didn’t believe she had ran a clean campaign.
Richardson said the political allegations are false.
“It doesn’t have anything to do with politics,” Richardson said. “The council and myself felt like we needed to make a change at police chief, and that is what we did.”