Former city employee files lawsuit claiming he was fired for investigating mayor's son

Former city employee files lawsuit claiming he was fired for investigating mayor's son
(Source: KAIT)

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A former Jonesboro city employee filed a lawsuit against the city, mayor, and other employees.

According to the complaint filed in Craighead County Circuit Court, Erick Woodruff's claims are against the city of Jonesboro, Mayor Harold Perrin, Chief Financial Officer Suzanne Allen, and Human Resources Manager Dewayne Douglas for violating the Arkansas Whistleblower's Protection Act, free speech retaliation, and race discrimination.

The complaint states Woodruff was wrongfully terminated for investigating and reporting illegal activities by the Mayor's son and for his race. Woodruff is African American.

Woodruff, once the city's director of information systems, said he found out the mayor's son, Mark Perrin, was attempting to hack the firewall on a city-owned computer so he could do things not normally permitted.

Mark Perrin was hired at the Jonesboro Police Department in Dec. 2014, as a sex offender registration specialist.

Woodruff said what Mark Perrin was doing with his city-owned computer was a violation of city policy.

State police further investigated the computer Mark used and determined it was wiped clean. On Wednesday, ASP spokesman Bill Sadler said the agency has not investigated Mark Perrin.

"No open investigation, no closed investigation, no computer," Sadler said in an email to Region 8 News.

Mark Perrin resigned from his position with JPD 3 months after being hired.

According to court documents, the mayor later consulted with a computer consulting company which included complaints about Woodruff.

In 2015, that company later made recommendations about Woodruff's department.

Suzanne Allen was hired as Woodruff's boss in Sept. 2015 and Dewayne Douglas was the human resources manager at the time.

Woodruff stated before Allen was hired or the computer consulting company was used, he had never been in trouble for his work performance.

Woodruff claims he was put on a performance improvement plan in early 2016 and denied a raise because of his race and participation in the criminal investigation against the mayor's son.

The document states after being fired in January 2017, Woodruff suffered from lost earnings, benefits, and endured mental, emotional, and physical suffering.

As Region 8 News first reported, Woodruff appealed his termination but the decision was upheld by the city council.

Woodruff worked for the city of Jonesboro from April 2007 until Jan. 2017.

Region 8 News reached out to the City of Jonesboro for comment on this story. Communication Director Bill Campbell said the city will make all comments during court proceedings.

Copyright 2017 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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