Few people know what happened between Fairhope Human Resources Director Pandora Heathcoe and Mayor Karin Wilson, but it was serious enough to involve lawyers and an insurance company.
On Friday, Heathcoe filed a civil complaint with the city against Wilson, who took office in November. It is known that a police report was made in connection with whatever happened. People who have seen the report would not discuss its contents. Lagniappe is filing official requests under Alabama’s public records law to obtain the police report and the civil complaint, however Alabama law allows police departments to withhold such records at will.
Asked via her Facebook page for comment Saturday afternoon, Wilson sent this statement to Lagniappe: “Legal counsel will be handling responses internally. I’m confident the facts will demonstrate very quickly the allegations are false.”
Lagniappe was unable to reach Heathcoe.
City Attorney Marion “Tut” Wynne said he received the complaint Friday. He said the filing of a such a complaint is a necessary first step in seeking reimbursement from the city’s insurer, the Travelers.
“I don’t think there is a criminal issue,” Wynne said. Without discussing any of the details, Wynne said what happened was best described as “an incident.”
The incident occurred several months ago and apparently did not result in charges.
After news of Heathcoe’s claim became public Friday evening, Wilson made the following post on her Facebook page Saturday: “I remember when I contemplated running for Mayor how worried my husband was for me. I kept asking him what he thought could happen that would warrant such stress? He’d give me hypothetical situations and I always responded, ‘but that’s not the truth.’ If we allow worry and doubt to control our decisions based on an unknown future, there would never be positive progress.
“I’m surrounded by opportunists, people who believe I’m naive and those who try to demoralize me. But no one can or will take away the truth.”
Since taking office, Wilson has made a number of personnel changes in top positions of city government, including some firings, and has created new positions and rewritten job descriptions. Heathcoe’s job includes making sure that procedures, salary ranges and job descriptions comply with existing personnel rules and the system’s salary structure.
City Council President Jack Burrell said Saturday that he, too, was familiar with the complaint but would not discuss it. Burrell and Wilson have often been at odds but in recent weeks have publicly made an effort to work together.
Saturday, he said that the council had nothing to do with the event that led to Heathcoe’s civil complaint. “There may be more to come out,” he said
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