Fired Selmer employee keeps job
By Jeff Whitten
Fired public works employee Stanley Smith can keep his job, for now.
The Selmer Board of Aldermen voted to allow him 90 days unpaid leave of absence and to give him the opportunity to return to come back to the board and present documentation that his problems are solved, and he is suitable for work. The board could then vote to allow Smith to keep his job.
Public Works Director Richard told the board of several instances when Smith had been impaired by the use of prescription drugs he was taking for back problems.
Ashe said he had received calls from Smith’s coworkers saying he was acting funny and had slurred speech.
He said on another occasion Smith was sitting in his truck with the windows running and was shaking, red-faced and his speech couldn’t be understood.
The ambulance took him to the emergency room. A drug test was done and it came back positive for a prescription drug that Smith was taking, but the prescription was old.
After several of these incidents, Smith was required to sign a last chance letter agreeing to a program of rehabilitation, to random drug testing and to termination if another of these incidents occurred.
After another incident when Ashe found Smith incapacitated , Smith was drug tested and one sample came back positive and one that was too warm to test came back negative. No illegal drugs were found in any test.
Smith was terminated after that last incident.
Smith addressed the board in his own defense, saying he had worked for the city for 21 years and hurt his back in 2005.
He said when he took muscle relaxers, “I had no idea they would do me the way they did.”
He noted that because his wife is disabled, his family is a one-income one and they have a mortgage.
“I’ve got too much riding on this. If I lose my job, I lose everything. I beg y’all’s forgiveness. I swear on my life it won’t happen no more,” he told the board.
The board voted 3-2 to give Smith one last chance. Vice-Mayor Paul Simpson was joined by Aldermen Edward Smith and John Smith in voting yes. John Finlayson and Lloyd Tennyson voted no.
A personnel hearing for fired policeman Christopher Reynolds was also scheduled but was postponed until July 12 at 6 p.m. Reynolds retained attorney Carthel Smith to represent him and the postponement was for the purpose of giving Smith time to review the case.
The next regular monthly meeting of the Selmer Mayor and Board of Aldermen will be on July 12 at 7 p.m. A personnel hearing for Christopher Reynolds will be held at 6 p.m. on the same day.