In a letter addressed to the council, Pritchett said, “Due to the discriminatory and hostile working environment to which I continue to be subjected at the City of Dora, I have no other alternative but to resign my employment.”
Pritchett filed a formal complaint with the council on May 3, 2013, citing a number of grievances, including what she called harassment by the mayor. She also alleged sexual discrimination based on the fact that she was the only female department head.
Pritchett’s letter also stated that she had sent a second plea to the council for help but received no response to either complaint.
“… I prepared to present to you all facts which supported my complaints, but the only response I received was from the Mayor requiring that I meet with him …” Pritchett wrote.
Pritchett also said that she had suffered discrimination and harassment on a daily basis. Her original complaint also said her health had suffered from the extreme stress caused by the job. In this final letter, Pritchett details a recent hospital stay for high blood pressure that she attributes to the stress caused by the work environment.
The council did not address the resignation at its regular council meeting, instead going into executive session to discuss the issue.
The council cited “job performance” as the reason for the executive session, despite being told that the job performance of an appointed position (such as the clerk) was not a legitimate reason for executive session.
According to Alabama’s Open Meeting Act, an executive session may be convened for one or more specific reasons, as defined by the act. One of those reasons is “To discuss the general reputation and character, physical condition, professional competence or mental health of individuals, or, subject to the limitations set out herein, to discuss the job performance of certain public employees. However, except as provided elsewhere in this section, discussions of the job performance of specific public officials or specific public employees may not be discussed in executive session if the person is an elected or appointed official…”
The OMA further specifies that “‘Job performance’ does not include the general reputation and character of the person being discussed.”
In other business:
•The council approved the purchase of drug testing kits for the police department.
•The council heard from the employees of the city-owned Horse Creek Golf Course about the condition of the equipment used to maintain the course. The city will be looking at options to replace the aging fleet, most of which was purchased when the course opened more than a decade ago.
•The council tabled, for the second time, the discussion of installing more security cameras in city hall.
•The council approved repairs for the city’s tractor, which blew its engine recently. The tractor, which is used to cut along roadways, needs a variety of repairs and parts.