An attorney from the Texas Municipal Police Association will file an appeal of termination and request for a hearing with the City of Huntsville today on behalf of Wesley Altom, a Huntsville Police Department employee who was terminated by City Manager Bill Baine on April 9.
Gregory B. Cagle, a regional attorney from the TMPA, said Monday that the appeal will be filed based on his determination that Altom’s termination, which was preceded by a period of suspension, was “politically based.”
At the time of his termination, Altom held the rank of Captain in the HPD.
“Captain Altom was employed by the HPD for 21 years. I have reviewed his recent evaluations which were all superior,” Cagle said. “We are not aware of any complaints regarding his performance or any investigations alleging misconduct on his part.
“The termination of a 21-year employee with an exemplary record of service under these circumstances leaves me with the conclusion that the termination was politically based.”
Huntsville City Secretary Lee Woodward confirmed Monday that Altom had been relieved of his duties effective April 9, and said that Baine had no comment at this time.
As per the Huntsville City Charter, employees may request hearings regarding personnel grievances within 10 days of notice of termination.
The city then has “not less than six nor more than twenty” days from receipt of the appeal to hold a hearing before the City Council, at which time both the employee and the Council members may be heard.
Following the hearing, the Council must render a decision in writing within ten days.
Altom was first hired by the HPD in 1989, and was first named a lieutenant in 2003. In October 2009, then Chief Allwin Barrow Jr. promoted Altom to Captain. Barrow resigned from the HPD on March 19.
Altom had no personal comment on the matter Monday, and referred all questions to Cagle.
“The City Charter requires ‘just cause’ for the termination of City Employees,” Cagle said. “We look forward to the hearing.”