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Hammock with wife Kim during Saturday's Christmas parade

Hammock files suit against coucil

By Michael Butler

Tallassee Mayor Johnny Hammock has filed a lawsuit against the City Council and City of Tallasssee.

Hammock's attorneys; Julian L. McPhillips, K. David Sawyer and Kenneth Shinbaum, signed the document dated Nov. 24 requesting a trial by jury. The document was recorded on the same date with the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama Northern Division.

Counsel for Hammock claims that the Tallassee City Council violated Hammock's 14th Amendment right to procedural due process and committed libel and slander.

The City Council issued a resolution regarding alleged wrongdoing by Hammock and other city personnel on Oct. 12.

The claim lists accusations aimed at Hammock as false as noted in the resolution:

(a.) Harrassment or harrassing communications directed to the City of Tallassee employees; and

(b.) The purchase of equipment, goods and services by the Mayor without the approval of the Tallassee City Council to include but not be limited to (1) the purchase of a motor vehicle; (2) expenses related to the Mayor's campaign for the Alabama Public Service Commission; (3) payment to a business owned or controlled by the former Building Inspector for tree and shrubbery cutting and debris removal; and (4) seeking and receiving reimbursement from the City of Tallassee for certain expenses unrelated to City business or operations.

The title of superintendent of utilities was stripped from Hammock by a unanimous vote at the Oct. 12 meeting.

"The city council acted in a manner that we felt is in the best interest of the City of Tallassee," councilman Bill Godwin said.

The position, separate from the duty as mayor, paid $50,000 annually with health insurance and retirement benefits. The superintendent of utilities pay increased from $25,000 to $50,000 per year shortly after Hammock was re-elected as mayor and reappointed to the utilities position in January of 2020.

The legal complaint states that Hammock, the plaintiff, "avers that his termination was against the City of Tallassee's ordinances, policies and practics concerning employment and termination."

For the alleged two counts of violation of due process, as well as libel and slander, Hammock is seeking:

a) An award of compensatory damages, including but not limited to, damages for back pay, front pay, benefits, adn mental anguish which Plaintiff may be entitled;

b) Injunctive and equitable relief;

c) Punitive damages;

d) An award of all court costs and reasonable attorneys' fees; and

e) Such further, other, and different relief as the Court may deem appropriate and necessary.

*Copy of Document