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Saturday, February 25, 2017

Fairhope Employee Terminations Cause Firestorm

Fairhope, Alabama

Mayor Wilson at far left


There was a noticeably somber mood around town today after the sudden termination yesterday of two popular city employees, one who is very near retirement: former mayor Kant first-posted the information to his Facebook page Friday evening.

Also, it was announced last Thursday at the city council meeting that the city's long-time fire and safety inspector, Tom Odom, "retired" the previous week as well: He is former mayor Kant's father-in-law and served for 40 years on the Volunteer Fire Department.

For several years, the Times had heard some citizens and fire department personnel questioning his capacity to continue in that full-time $21/hr position, due to his age (over 80).

Also at Thursday's meeting, when asked by the Times the mayor indicated she has made a selection for Operations Director, but declined to give a name due to privacy constraints.

That meeting seemed unusually calm and professional, no indication of what was coming the next day was given; the mayor indicated she would be presenting her much-anticipated budget within the next two weeks.

Mayor Wilson made a brief statement on her Facebook page this morning:

"Yesterday, I had to make the difficult yet necessary decision to let two department heads go. Like some of you, I am both hurt and upset. 
Nevertheless, my commitment to the city is stronger than ever and our talented team will continue to move our city forward.

The level of transparency you have come to expect from this office will continue, in an effort to keep you engaged with matters that affect your pocketbook and quality of life.

However, a response to sensitive matters regarding city employees – current or past – will not and cannot be discussed.

As always, please feel free to call, email or make an appointment to share your concerns or ideas., .

My door is always open."

It is not unusual for a new administration to make major management changes, be it the President, a Governor or a Mayor.


The Times has been unable to contact council members about it, apparently since all involved have been advised not to comment by city attorneys -- but usually-reliable sources say a meeting with department heads Friday concerning employees' wages/benefits in the mayor's new budget may have been the trigger.

Others theories point to a recent blog post (The Baldwin Insider -- click) criticizing mayor Wilson and promoting the former mayor as a possible factor: The blog's publisher remains anonymous but sources tell the Times it may be done by a well-known professional "political consulting firm."

Planning for a 'Tim Kant Appreciation Day' has been mentioned for several weeks as well on various social media, according to sources.

Wilson narrowly defeated four-term incumbent Kant in last August's municipal election.

Gulf Coast News is reporting that a petition for "recalling" the mayor is being circulated -- click: Our staff is researching whether that is permitted under Alabama law.

Check back here for updates.





Anonymous said...

The new mayor has every right to make changes to department heads to improve the function of our city. Employee termination is by law a HR matter and must be private regarding folks that were terminated. Make no mistake, Karin Wilson has the strong continued support of thousands of folks in Fairhope.

Anonymous said...

Having the right don't make it right though.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Crazy Karin needs to be put away? What does "needs to be put away" mean? Is this a threat of violence? Perhaps the local authorities need to see and check out the above commment?

Anonymous said...

What's crazy is the folks that think that Karin Wilson isn't going to drain the swamp
In Fairhope. The swamp will be drained and all the muck at the bottom will be exposed for all to see.

Anonymous said...

Kant, Boon and the other boys just could not leave it alone and give her a chance.
Now this happens.
Sad for everybody especially the employees who have to take the fall for the pols.

Anonymous said...

The mayor may want to consider hirng a good political consultant hrself and fire some of her psycho advisers

Anonymous said...

Not only as the Times stated are these employees truly ir-replacable - they are very very re-placable as all of us are.

Anonymous said...

Why was an 80 year old man being allowed to work for the city?

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Wilson had to pay for her friends she just hired, so she fires those that have worked to make Fairhope better. Wilson is only worried about her business and her friends, handing out some of the highest paid positions in Baldwin County to her friends.

The council should have never approved her new positions without a full budget - while she wants to cut back on personnel and benefits, they want to continue to give monies to Wilson's organizations that she supports.

Fairhope elected her (barely), now they have her! She will be a one-term mayor!

Anonymous said...

He isn't 80, he's 89. He has fallen asleep at his desk and in a city vehicle more than once. Ask Chief Petties. He was allowed to keep working because of who he was (Kant's father in law) and Kant signed an insurance waiver every year to allow him to still drive a city vehicle.

Anonymous said...

This is the question: Why are firms passing up business with the city of Fairhope if she is this great mayor?

Anonymous said...

Be sure not to forget to thank our friends in
/Rock Creek for brining this mess down on all of us!

Anonymous said...

Have you been to or seen any council meetings? Novody wants to be a political football

Anonymous said...

What firms exactly are passing up business with Fairhope b/c of our Mayor? I don't believe that any reputable business would refuse to do business with the city simply because of the PR campaign against her. It appears that the 'good ole boys' are getting very nervous about some of their shady deals being uncovered and they are desperate to get rid of Karin and replace her with Burrell before she can dig any deeper. I think that Sullivan and Fidlar are friends of Kant and became collateral damage when they refused to work with the current Mayor.

Anonymous said...

HR issues that lead up to employee termination should never be made public.
So continue on with your small town gossip, speculation and blame game as much as you want.
Ms. Wilson was duly elected by a significant majority of Fairhope residents who cared enough to vote.

Anonymous said...

"Why are firms passing up business with the city of Fairhope if she is this great mayor?"

Seriously? She's been mayor for about five minutes.
I don't know what you know about business but most of these transactions don't happen in three months.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Refused to work with the new mayor, where exactly did you get that info???? These two employees worked every single day for the good of Fairhope while Crazy Karin try's to make a name for herself by claiming to clean up the city. How much is Dean Mosher making in salary for all his crazy advice!!!! God help our town! I'm ashamed, I actually voted for Karin. I wish I knew what I know now because I promise you it would not happen again! In fact I will support any proposal to recall or impeach Karen. Shame on her, how she can sleep at night is beyond me.

Anonymous said...

It was not a significant majority! Sadly I voted for her and I'm ashamed!!!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Fairhope politics have become so divisive much the same as Washington DC and the state of Alabama. The pendulum is swinging far too much with each election. It won't be long before it breaks. I couldn't vote for Kant or Wilson. I voted for council members but neither choice for mayor left me with a sense of confidence. Two completely different visions for our City but neither vision was without self promotion and personal favors. What a unfortunate situation we find ourselves in now.

Anonymous said...

Why don't you do the right thing Mayor and resign. Your over your head. Every citizens mayor. Yeah right.

Anonymous said...

These commenters must be Jack Burrell's or Kant's stooges because most people in Fairhope are a bit sick of the former state of affairs here. Karin Wilson may be inexperienced in government but that is why most of us voted for her. We are sick to death of 'politics as usual'……..Kant was going to bestow the kingship upon Burrell in 4 years. Kant lost to Karin Wilson……..they are two stupid goobers who will stop at nothing to take back the 'toys' that were taken away. I bet they are super mad that Karin Wilson is honest and may expose their grift and pay for play tactics.

Anonymous said...

Mayor Wilson fired two more long-term employees on Friday, the 10th.

What I don't fully understand is how does she think this will motivate others within the city workforce - by fear? Fear won't last long and then the workers will either unionize or rebel, by taking all their time off for sick days, etc. Th new managers will begin to pull their hair out when experienced worker only do what they are told to do, nothing else.

Yes, Alabama is a right to work state, but if you fully believe this then you have never been a hiring or firing executive.