Ad Spot

City administrator can keep his job with conditions

By By Suzanne Monk / managing editor
May 7, 2002
The murk surrounding the DUI arrest of Assistant City Administrator Don Cross, and the surprising events that followed, is expected to clear to a degree at today's meeting of the Meridian Civil Service Commission.
Ironically, Cross is the city official in charge of administering Meridian's drug and alcohol testing policy and Mayor John Robert Smith, while allowing Cross to keep his job, says he expects great improvements in this area.
Short-circuited background
Cross was involved in a traffic accident on Feb. 4, and charged with driving under the influence. Two days later, the mayor suspended him for 30 days with pay. Cross appealed the decision to the Meridian Civil Service Commission.
He subsequently appealed his suspension to the commission, alleging racial discrimination had played a part in Smith's decision, resigned and then asked to withdraw his letter of resignation.
Smith said in early April that he had agreed to hold Cross' resignation letter "in abeyance" until the two men could discuss the situation in more detail.
Next, Cross appealed his "termination" from his position as a city administrator, asserting that he would later provide the Civil Service Commission with a copy of his letter of termination.
The mayor said he had not been fired, but neither has Cross kept office hours since his original Feb. 6 suspension.
The Civil Service Commission granted Cross' request for a delay in the appeal of his suspension until after his DUI trial in city court. Originally scheduled for April 15, that trial is now set for May 16.
Bringing the story
into the present
A letter from city attorney Lee Thaggard to be formally presented to the commission today asserts that Cross was never fired so any appeal of a termination is "premature."
Also scheduled for presentation to the commission is an April 16 letter from Smith outlining the conditions under which Cross can keep his job. The main points are:
1) The mayor will be Cross' direct supervisor, instead of Chief Administrative Officer Ken Storms, and will prepare Cross' next job evaluation;
2) Regardless of the outcome of the DUI trial, Smith asserts that Cross was dishonest in his remarks to Meridian police officers responding to the scene of his accident, co-workers and the city administration; and,
3) Smith also says in his letter that Cross has done a bad job of administering the city's random drug and alcohol testing policies.
Thomas is the city's risk manager, and has functioned as Meridian's "acting drug enforcing officer" since February. Kirby is the Meridian Civil Service Commission's administrative assistant.
Where Cross stands
Cross' appeal of his suspension is still active before the Meridian Civil Service Commission. Cross was suspended for 30 days with pay on Feb. 6, and then his letter of resignation was "held in abeyance." Presumably, he has been paid since then  but has not kept office hours.
Though city officials assert that Cross was never fired, an appeal before the commission regarding his termination is still technically "active."
The mayor informed Cross in his April 16 letter that he was suspended without pay for 30 days effective April 17.

Franklin County

New year brings official end to concealed carry permit requirement

Franklin County

Schools recognize Franklin County Board of Education

Columnists

Book Lovers Study Club submits 2022 reports

News

RHS alum receives Keller Key at UNA

Franklin County

Cattlemen convene for annual banquet

Belgreen Bulldogs

Belgreen hires football coach for fledgling program

News

City approves temporary fire department promotions

Franklin County

Commission decides to request bids for elevator maintenance

News

Whimsical window art brightens RPL

Belgreen Bulldogs

Belgreen gets football coach

Franklin County

Martin Luther King commemorative march takes place in downtown Russellville

Franklin County

New district attorney swears in

Franklin County

Cattlemen’s Association prepares for annual meeting

News

Russellville Public Library director speaks at Book Lovers meeting

Franklin County

Vina native returns to hometown church to share her story

Franklin County

Couple continues annual Christmas jail ministry

News

City officials reflect on old year, look toward new

Franklin County

MLK march returns to Russellville this year, set for Jan. 16

News

Council approves additional funding for Cramer Children’s Center

Franklin County

2022 REVIEW: Big news stories shape Franklin County

News

State association names RMS principal as middle school principal of year

News

REB plans customer appreciation event

Franklin County

Distinguished Through the Decades: 2022, Madeline Cooper

Galleries

Faces of Franklin County: A Walk Thru Bethlehem

x