James Floyd had been employed by Gordon County Emergency 911 for six years before his termination in early April.
Floyd’s employment had been released from 911 after he violated the department’s non-disclosure agreement.
According to several witnesses who worked with Floyd at the 911 call center, on the night of April 10, Floyd notified a young woman about several noise and underage drinking complaints made against her.
Floyd stated during the May 18 hearing that he was not aware of any rule that specifically prevented him from making the phone calls.
However, Floyd does admit that he did sign the non-disclosure agreement that prevented him from speaking to anyone about the calls that were received. His contention was that his infraction did not merit a termination.
“We have one employee who is basically going to be made an example of,” said Floyd’s attorney Chris Coomer. “We are asking that a termination be overturned and for a six day suspension instead.”
Angel Hinson, a 911 employee, stated to the BOC that she witnessed Floyd make a phone call on his personal cell phone after the call center received three calls of noise complaints and alleged underage drinking.
Hinson testified that Floyd stepped into the hallway and made a phone call, Hinson said she over heard Floyd on the phone telling someone to “get rid” of alcohol.
“He came back in the room and was real upset and mad over the conversation,” Hinson said. “I felt it was an inappropriate call. Us as 911 do not call people and warn them that officers are coming.”
Hinson said she was “appalled” and “disturbed” by Floyd’s actions and filed a report with her superior the next day.
Floyd admits that he did make two phone calls on the night of April 10. He said he called the girl’s mother and asked the her if she had the young woman’s baby. He also said that he answered phone calls from the young woman.
“I really didn’t call anyone to tell them what was going on,” Floyd said.
According to 911 Director Debbie Vance, Floyd told her on the date of his termination that he had sent the young woman a text message, something he later denied.
Vance said that Floyd was terminated because he violated the standard operating procedures that he had agreed to. Vance also said that Floyd put everyone in danger when he left his post and handed his radio to Kala Greeson, another dispatcher, leaving her listening to multiple frequencies.
County Attorney Suzanne Hutchinson entered into evidence 911 recordings from that night. On the recording Floyd can be heard receiving a call from a concerned citizen who said kids were throwing beer bottles into the street.
Floyd can be heard telling the caller that he would let officers know. However, Vance states that an officer was not immediately made aware of the situation.
“That is the first thing that came to my attention,” Vance said.
Floyd can be heard again interacting with a police officer who identifies the address where the noise was originating. Floyd then can be heard telling the officer that he knows the people who occupy the address and that they do not throw loud parties.
The calls are later picked up by Greeson who tries to direct the officer to the address in question. During the last rounds of communication with city police, an officer can be heard telling Floyd that the residence was dark and quiet.
“There were a good many people out there. They probably heard it on the scanner,” Floyd told the officer.
Coomer said that Floyd’s termination was in violation of the county’s ordinance of progressive discipline.
“The point is to correct behavior,” Coomer said.
Coomer noted that according to the ordinance there are five ascending levels of discipline, which range from verbal counseling to written notice, a suspension a demotion and then a termination.
“The point is not jumping to number five,” Coomer said.
The BOC voted 4-1 to uphold the termination, with Duck Townsend voting to overturn the termination.