Former Parks and Recreation Director Kelvin McGruder has now filed a complaint against the city of Meridian. He was placed on leave indefinitely without pay, and eventually fired, after he claims he went to the mayor about a few city employees engaging in potential violations.
“The pattern continues where if you complain or if you try to do the right thing, then you’re obviously punished in some way. Whether or not everything that was said in the complaint that was true, I think might be up for debate. No doubt, some of those complaints that were filed in federal court were substantiated.” -Councilman Weston Lindemann, Ward 5
In this complaint, McGruder claims Mayor Percy Bland told him to discuss these allegations with Chief Administrative Officer Richie McAlister. Shortly after is when McGruder says he was placed on an unpaid leave with no reason. McGruder reached out to Councilman Weston Lindemann with his complaints, and Lindemann, who has a history of disagreement with the administration, agreed with him.
Lindemann says, “intimidation is sort of a tactic used by certain members of this administration. I think its well documented that Mr. McAlister doesn’t exactly treat people fairly when they disagree with him.”
Lindemann claims that from this complaint, another from former Community Development Director Bunky Partridge, and complaints from other city employees are costing the city around $700,000 in legal fees.
When asked about moving forward, one suggestion Lindemann had was to actually cut McAlister’s salary in order to pay some of the legal fees.
“If we reduced his salary to, like, $1, I think he would probably leave. That would be a huge blessing to the city of Meridian and the taxpayers because we would see our legal fees go down and employee complaints would go down as well. Of course, services would most likely increase if we had better management in place,” says Lindemann.
CAO Richie McAlister says they cannot comment on the complaint due to it being open litigation.