Mayor pro tem James “Jimbo” Bray, Jr. confirmed Friday afternoon that Carbon Hill City Magistrate Kim Sides had been fired. Since the absence of the city’s mayor James “Pee Wee” Richardson for allegations of sexual misconduct, Bray has been overseeing city business.
When asked if he had the authority to dismiss Sides from her position, Bray said, “Yes. I’m the acting mayor of the city hall now because Pee Wee can’t have any interactions or anything with any of the people down there. He can’t even go in the city hall. I’m having to conduct the day-to-day business.”
The city’s attorney, Charles Stephens Jr., said he studied what he could find about the situation and said Sides had no due process right to her position.
“They asked if she had a due process right to her job, and with the research that I had been able to perform at the time I said, ‘I can’t find anything that says she has a due process right to her job. I think she’s an at-will employee just like all Alabama employees that don’t have a contract or not specifically protected by statute,’” Stephens said.
He further explained that “law enforcement has a statutory right to due process to their job. If you’re under a civil service contract like Jasper City employees, Walker County employees, state of Alabama employees, they have due process right to their jobs. But, most other folks don’t unless there is some type of contractural arrangement between them and their employer.”
With Bray running the daily operations of the city as mayor pro tem, Stephens said he has the “authority of the mayor.”
“If you look at the Code of Alabama, there is no ‘so to speak of’ acting mayor. There’s a mayor pro tem that the council can agree upon that can kind of handle things in the absence of the mayor, but Mayor Richardson is not completely absent,” Stephens said. “He’s just kind of on the sidelines right now. ... He’s just removed himself from city government until that’s all resolved.”
Sides had no comment when contacted Friday afternoon.