The new Oak Park clerk was terminated from her last job in a neighboring city. At least hat’s what public records on the new hire reveal.
Oak Park was forced to quickly hire a new clerk after the abrupt and unexpected departure of Monica Slater last month. But the new clerk, according to city officials in the town of her last employment, left on less than friendly terms.
Oak Park City Clerk LoriAnn Trammell began working with the city in late July. Despite never voting to accept the resignation of Slater, Council approved Trammell’s employment unanimously on August 6. (Councilman Kevin Head was absent)
Since Councilwoman Elaine Strange and Mayor Pro-Tem Royce Dismuke conducted interviews together, no questions were asked at the time of approval. Dismuke did, however, tell the room that some bartenders applied and Trammell had three years of experience in city government. He noted that was ‘a plus’ on her resume.
There was no mention of the fact that the new Oak Park clerk was terminated from the City of Adrian.
We subsequently filed an Open Records Request with the City of Adrian. Specifically, we sought:
- the personnel file of Trammell,
- minutes from council meetings on Trammell’s employment, and
- any other relevant documents pertaining to Trammell’s employment and termination.
Adrian City Clerk Stephanie Jean promptly provided the records.
Personnel File from the City of Adrian
The personnel filed from the City of Adrian indicated that Trammell served as the city clerk, the police department clerk, and the elections superintendent for Adrian. Her official hire date was March 9, 2015.
The file contained certifications from the Georgia Municipal Association, the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office, and the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council (POST.) Trammell’s job application also showed previous employment at H&R Block, Dr. Forrest Marshall, and Jim Keeper Enterprises in Florida.
The personnel file included a written reprimand of Trammell on May 22, 2018 signed by Adrian Mayor Kim Adams and Councilmember Zelda Sumner. The reprimand, also signed by Trammell, listed ‘insubordination and attitude’ and the cause of disputes in City Hall.
Trammell’s hours were reduced by a vote by Council in June in hopes of encouraging improved performance. At the July 9, 2018 council meeting, officials voted to terminate Trammell for ‘insubordination and failure to adhere to instructions directed by the City Council.’
City Official Comments on Trammell’s Employment
Adrian Mayor Kim Adams spoke with us on Tuesday about the termination. Adams said that problems arose near the end of Trammell’s tenure. Trammell reportedly meddled in police department activities. Specifically, she classified calls made to and from the police department after 5:00 P.M. as “personal,” effectively altering how police department phone bills were accounted for.
According to Adams, Trammell, without the consent of council, also transferred funds within Quickbooks. She moved money from the police department in an effort to compensate the city for police department activity. This, in addition to “constant altercations with the police department,” led to termination, Adams said.
“She was constantly undermining me and the Council,” Adams told us. “She would tell people who were looking for me that she didn’t know where I was or that I was never around [city hall].” Elected positions in Adrian are part-time.
In addition, Adams said problems arose with the annual budget when Trammell refused to follow instructions on crafting the budget. Repeated requests to add all monthly and annual expenditures for the budget drafting process went unheard. Subsequently, the budget was off by several thousand dollars.
The vote to terminate Trammell was not unanimous. In a 3-2 decision, one council member wanted to offer Trammell another opportunity to rectify her relationship. Adams said ultimately, the Council was against keeping Trammell on city staff. Most concerning to them was the moving of funds without council approval and the failure to act on council direction.
Issues after termination
Mayor Adams added that Trammell changed all the passwords for the software, accounts, and emails upon her termination. The city had to contact a consultant to work on site at City Hall to assist and reset everything. The reset resulted in a notification that someone attempted to log in remotely from Oak Park. At the time of notification, Trammell was a new employee for the City of Oak Park. Subsequently, the consultant returned to Adrian City Hall to secure the files and systems.
Adrian officials contacted city attorney Trey Taylor with plans to send a cease and desist letter to Trammell. “There were emails deleted, we don’t even know what we’ve lost,” Adams reported.
Adams said she was not contacted by anyone in Oak Park about Trammell’s employment. Mayor Larry Wilson allegedly contacted the current city clerk who recommended Wilson speak to the Mayor of Adrian, but Wilson declined.