Former clerk considering lawsuit against city

Harla McClure, former Murray City Clerk, is working with her legal counsel to determine if they file a lawsuit against the city of Murray for wrongful termination. Her lawyer, Thomas Clay, alleges in a letter of grievance to the city on McClure’s behalf, that other city officials had committed more serious offenses with minor repercussions.

McClure received a termination notice from Mayor Bill Wells on Sept. 5 citing dishonesty, immoral/improper conduct and on-duty/off-duty activities that discredit the individual or organization.

The notice accused McClure of improperly reporting a city sticker that was found on her daughter’s vehicle as stolen.

McClure claims she purchased the city sticker for herself and had not realized her daughter had used it.

Clay said he was trying to back up a case against the city.

“There’s no question the mayor violated the city’s policies and procedures,” he said. “There’s no question that I think Wells made a mockery out of the due process that McClure should have been afforded.”

In a letter of grievance addressed to Matt Mattingly, city administrator, Clay states McClure’s termination was done so wrongfully and addresses several facts, which were provided to McClure in her termination letter.

In the letter, Clay says several department heads and a supervisor within the city have attested to McClure’s competence and integrity. He states the mayor’s action in dismissing McClure as Murray City Clerk is in direct violation of the city’s personnel policies and procedures. He said the mayor heard statements from McClure and others about other city employees who had committed violations of city policies and procedures whose violations were more severe, with few repercussions.

The letter of grievance states, “Mike Farley admittedly allowed an inmate to possess and dispose of a gun. Mr. Farley was suspended for two weeks. Mitchell Prichard admittedly assaulted a citizen and was given a one week unpaid suspension … Donnie Newcomb allowed Class D felons under his supervision to obtain contraband and bring it into the Calloway County Jail. He was demoted, not terminated.”

“Harla presented information about other city administrators who committed breaches in the personnel policy who have had less severe repercussions,” Clay said. “I’ve got a case and am hoping an avenue in which the case will be heard will be found.”

Mayor Wells said he was limited on what he could comment on in regards to the possibility of a lawsuit.

“There are two sides to every story,” he said. “If McClure decides to sue, we (Murray) will give our evidence and our evidence against her is very strong.”

If a suit is filed, Wells said Paducah attorney Stacy Blankenship would be representing the city.

McClure and other city administrators could not be reached for comment.

Story by Chris Wilcox, News Editor.