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Former Ludowici cop granted hearing

City, officer at odds over departure

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POSTED: January 17, 2014 1:30 p.m.
Photo by Randy C. Murray/

Ludowici Mayor James Fuller, left, and City Attorney Joe Kitchings discuss a matter at Tuesday’s Ludowici City Council meeting.

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Ludowici’s city council meeting Tuesday evening was brief, barely half an hour long. The meeting was called to order by Mayor James Fuller at precisely 6 p.m., and all attending were led in an invocation by a local pastor.
The meeting went straight into old business and approval of December’s minutes.
Although it wasn’t the first item on the agenda, addressing former Ludowici Police Department employee Robert Kicklighter’s request for hearing regarding the circumstances surrounding his departure appeared to be the pressing issue of the evening.
“I make a motion that we grant Officer Robert Kicklighter’s request for a hearing regarding his termination and/or resignation with the Ludowici Police Department,” Councilman Jim Fuller said then waited for the motion to be seconded and approved. “I make another motion that we set a date for that hearing and call a special meeting of the city council on Feb. 13 at 9 a.m.”
His second motion also was approved. As previously reported in the Courier, Kicklighter was hired by the LPD in October as a captain with duties to assist with training and investigations as well as policy and grant-writing. According to Kicklighter’s attorney, Joseph Segui, Kicklighter was terminated by LPD Chief James Rogers. According to Ludowici City Attorney Joe Kitchings, however, Kicklighter resigned. He advised that Kicklighter did not complete the required six-month probationary period, and because he resigned, he is not entitled to a hearing.
The first item noted under new business was to re-approve Kitchings as city attorney. No other city employees were mentioned.
“This is the city-council meeting where we’re supposed to hire all our city employees,” Fuller said. “But we’ve got some more pressing issues right now. I’d like to entertain a motion to save the re-hiring for the next meeting.”
A motion was made and quickly seconded. Fuller later said it was not unusual to delay employee hiring. He emphasized that no one was losing his or her job because that agenda item was tabled for the next meeting.
Another motion was made to approve a resolution for the 2014 Coastal Development Block Grant application. It, too, was quickly approved. A third motion was then made and approved to accept the city’s speed ordinance with no changes.
An unidentified resident asked permission to make a comment from the floor about the speed ordinance. He wanted to know why the city wasn’t enforcing the speed limit on Macon Street.
“Some people drive down that street like it’s the Indy 500,” he said.
Fuller told the man he would direct the police department to look into better enforcement to prevent speeding on that street.
Pastor Cheryl Roberts also asked permission to comment on an unrelated subject. She told the council she had been leading a petition to get mail delivered to the homes of residents on Roberson Street.
“I put out a petition to get mail delivered where we live,” said Roberts, who noted her street has a dead end and the resident living at the end of the street does not want the mail carrier turning around in his driveway.
“There is another driveway to the right of his driveway, but that property belongs to the city. The postmaster told me they can’t turn around on that property without permission from the city.”
Fuller quickly responded that he would tell the postmaster the post office has the city’s permission to use that driveway to turn around. Roberts asked him when he’d do this. His response was “tomorrow.”
A final motion for Tuesday’s meeting, which also was made by Fuller, was a proposal to amend the city charter. That motion was approved, and the official public notice will appear in the Courier. The council is expected to adopt the amended charter at its next meeting. The mayor said the proposed amended charter is available in the city clerk’s office and the office of the Clerk of Superior Court of Long County.


 

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