Officials who voted to fire David Myers as McComb city administrator in a special called meeting on Friday called the former official’s critique of the leadership style of himself and colleagues a matter of “sour grapes” from a disgruntled employee.
Myers alleged selectmen Ronnie Brock, Donovan Hill and Devante Johnson, who voted to fire him in a special called meeting last Friday, created a toxic work environment through their micro-managing of city employees and are determined to “totally destroy the city” before they leave office on June 30.
“I’m actually blown away that he thinks that about me,” Johnson said. “I love McComb with everything I’ve got. I mean, wow. That just took my breath away. That’s a lot to say for someone we put trust in to lead the city.
“My plan on June 30 is to leave the city better than I found it on July 1, 2018.”
“I was born here before he was and I love the city of McComb and if he thinks I am involved in any group of burning the city of McComb down, then he needs to go get some help,” Brock said.
Brock said Myers’ remarks are to be expected, considering the circumstances.
“The only thing I can tell you is what David Myers is saying is not surprising to me,” he said, calling it a weak attempt to draw out information regarding a personnel matter that shouldn’t be discussed in a public forum.
As for allegations of micro-managing the day-to-day affairs of employees, Brock and Johnson said they have made it a point to spend less time at city hall and leave management decisions up to Myers.
But Brock said employees do turn to him when they can’t get important matters resolved by upper management at city hall, namely Myers.
“The employees of the City of McComb, except for a few that don’t want to be held accountable for doing their job. the rest of the employees I guarantee you, have a different take of Selectman Brock,” Brock said. “These tactics and conversations about we’re in day-to-day, is just nonsense. The only thing I want to do is see that the city of McComb is run in a professional manner.”
Johnson agreed with Brock’s take.
“Mr. Myers is disgruntled because when it came to meeting the challenges the city of McComb faced, he failed,” he said. “The reason why employees circumvented him and came to us is because they couldn’t go to him and he formed inappropriate relationships with certain employees that created a toxic work environment for the ladies downstairs to get their jobs done.
“Never since I’ve been in the building did employees have so many complaints about their daily ability to do their job under his watch. Again, he failed.”
Johnson said Myers acknowledged when he was hired that he serves would serve at the will and pleasure of the city board, which was displeased with his performance.
“Well, the board has spoken of our displeasure,” he said. “We didn’t give a reason why we terminated him. We were displeased overall.”
Asked about Myers’ prediction of future dismissals before the term ends, Brock and Johnson said it’s hard to say if any more special meetings will be called.
“If there’s not any housecleaning in this administration, I’m certainly sure that after the new administration comes in there’s still going to be some housecleaning,” Brock said.
As for the alleged use of fake emails, as Myers and Scott claimed, Brock and Johnson chalked that up to the inability to recognize sabotage from spam.
“It’s scam emails and you don’t pay that stuff any attention,” Brock said, adding that he received some on his city tablet, including one that was obviously fake claiming to be from Mayor Quordiniah Lockley saying he was out of town and needed money.
“We get them all the time. I get spam all the time from someone pretending to be Mayor Lockley or somebody else about different things,” Johnson said.
Johnson and Brock said the city has a good relationship with the legislative delegation and will continue to.
“I think it’s just a case of sour grapes,” Brock said. “I’m sorry he feels that way, but in my position, the city of McComb comes first.”
Neither three selectmen are returning to office. Johnson and Brock lost their primary bids and Hill didn’t run for office.
“I’m taking the election loss better than he is taking being terminated,” Johnson said.
Hill said Myers’ harsh critique of the elected officials is “interesting, because we’re the same ones that voted him in” for the city administrator’s job.
And he said he and the others take no pleasure in firing people.
“It’s hard for me to fire people. These are the people we know. These are the people we bump into in Walmart,” he said. “We put people there to do their job, but the minute they don’t, we have to do something, and if these people work for any other company and do the stuff that they were doing, they would be fired, too.”
Hill said Myers, not he, Brock and Johnson, created a difficult working environment by promoting favoritism and protecting some employees but not others.
As for an allegation regarding the mother bringing her child to work, Hill said employees with children have kids who come by city hall every now and then. But he said Myers singled out an employee who had filed a complaint against two other employees that “David Myers and Mayor Lockley had been protecting.”
Hill said he would rather not get involved with personnel disputes but he feels he had to since employees bring their unresolved problems to him.
“That’s why the employees don’t feel safe,” he said.
Hill said Myers played favorites when filling a position and gave one to a person who had a pending EEOC claim against the city. Hill said the city ended up settling the claim.
“I think that somebody as to be the villain, and if somebody has to be the villain to make sure the people at city hall can do their jobs and go to their families at night, then I’ll be the villain,” he said.