The hearing would have been a forum for former City Recreation Department Administrative Assistant Tracy Gentry to appeal the recent termination of her employment with the city. Lawyers John Leggett, representing Gentry, and George Govignon and Bill Bailey, representing the city, came to an agreement outside the Depot conference room, the result being that Gentry would drop the appeal but would pursue unemployment compensation from the city.
"All Ms. Gentry ever asked for was an opportunity to sit down with the city and discuss this in a meaningful manner," Leggett told presiding judge Harry White.
“After considering the implications of a full hearing on both her co-workers and the City, and after having had the opportunity to meet with the Mayor and City Administrator, Tracy decided to dismiss the appeal of the City’s decision to terminate her employment,” he stated in an e-mail later Friday morning. “Tracy worked with some of those folks for almost 16 years and she wants the best for them and the Rec. She cares about what happens to the Recreation Department and she believes that this is what is best for her co-workers, the Rec, and most importantly, herself and her family.”
For full details, see the Wednesday, Nov. 3, print edition of the Calhoun Times.
Gentry was dismissed from her job after $45,000 in unaccounted-for funds, mostly cash and checks, were discovered at the recreation department in September.
Recreation department director Ronnie Reeves, resigned from his position Sept. 30.
Neither Gentry nor Reeves attended the hearing; they were at a funeral service for a member of their family, according to acquaintance Jerry Smith.
It would have been Gentry’s duty to deposit the funds, “and Ronnie was her direct supervisor,” City Administrator Eddie Peterson said in an earlier explanation of the dismissal.
The city opted not to pursue criminal charges; Mayor Jimmy Palmer said he felt the situation was one simply of "mismanaged funds."
The money was not stored in a secure place, he said.
The funds, $44,074 in total, were found in 31 different places in the recreation department administrative offices. Most of it came from program registrations, gate fees, rentals and concessions, Peterson said.
Officials found receipts dating back to 2008, he said.