10 February 2009

von jennings fires back

members: jonathan goins chairman, ed larvadain, iii and charles "chuck" fowler.

the audit committee meeting begins with councilman lavardain starting out wanting an audit of all departments. councilman lavardain wants them to look at all credit cards, purchases, travel vouchers and so forth "to make sure that we are spending the taxpayers monies wisely."

councilman fowler drops a bombshell when he reveals that that the administration is currently conducting internal audits and that "some of these things may involve litigation, possible criminal activity and i dont think it would be wise to have an open forum on that."

this morning the gannett/town talk posted an article alexandria hired private investigator to follow von jennings [download .pdf] and the investigatee, ms. jennings showed up to complain. the fact that councilman lavardain began the meeting by calling for an audit provided her a nice segue.

ms. jennings pointed out how sleazy it was for the administration to hire a private detective, the mayor's cousin no less, to follow her around especially since it cost money that could have better spent on the city's "crime problems" and "drainage problems."

for a little while, we thought ms. jennings had 'em over a barrel. the news article references the date of 10 december 2007 as a date that ms. jennings was surveilled. ms. jennings produced some paper to show that on that day she wasnt at work the entire day as she had spent the day and evening with her grandmother who she had taken to the hospital. however, it came out later that the date that ms. jennings was on about was actually 10 december 2008.

we're not sure that we fully believe ms. jennings assertion that "the real issue" (her being fired) of all this is that "minority business participation for the last fiscal year was one percent" and that "i was responsible for trying to increase that along with the mayor's support and along with ms. michiels support and the rest of the staff and i never got it." it could just be that regarding this issue that she isnt articulating herself in a way that we can understand.

what gets our attention though, is when ms. jennings says "i'am being retaliated against -- against by the administration, because i wont say, or i wont be, or i wont behave the way that you think, the way that i should," because we've experienced some of this ourselves, sometimes, when we post something that the administration doesnt like and we're not even working for 'em.

so next city attorney charles "chuck" johnson takes the mic to respond to ms. jennings. he says that the city has always used private detectives primarily in workers comp fraud cases and that its nothing unusual about using private investigators.

mr. johnson says that he "knew that this day would come when ms. jennings would try to make this a racial issue so i had an independent person tail her and video her for several months..."

councilman lawson finally interrupts to make a good point. he wants to know "i do want to know, you know if we're hiring investigators, i mean, i just find it peculiar when we're at-will state if you feel uncomfortable with an employee, its the prerogative of that person to terminate them."
UPDATE: click here to view ms. jennings termination letter three page .pdf [40 kb]
related posts
  • city of alexandria, la. hired a private detective to follow von jennings around

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