- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 15, 2014

DIAMONDHEAD, Miss. (AP) - The city of Diamondhead has filed an appeal of an administrative judge’s decision awarding former city manager Richard Rose unemployment benefits.

In September, Administrative Law Judge Nathan Nyberg of the Mississippi Department of Employment Security sided with Rose, claiming he was caught in a political struggle. The city filed its appeal this past week with the MDES’ Board of Review.

The Sun Herald reports (https://bit.ly/1oa48wK ) one area of contention is whether Rose asked for severance pay in order to resign or in exchange for his alleged recordings of city officials.

In the appeal, Diamondhead officials argue Rose provided false testimony “to avoid admitting he committed what he himself deemed wrong and improper conduct” and his actions “rose to the level of misconduct.”

One area of contention is whether Rose asked for severance pay in order to resign or in exchange for his alleged recordings of city officials. Diamondhead maintains Rose contradicted himself. Although Rose stated during an Aug. 8 cross examination that “it wouldn’t be right” to propose such a transaction, Diamondhead attorney Sean Tindell included a transcript from an April 22 phone conversation with Rose in which the former city manager requested benefits to step down.

“Here’s what I’d like, the same thing I had at D’Iberville: Nine months. They hire somebody else, they just pay me. They pay me nine months, pay my insurance for nine months, from May 1 or whatever, and pay my insurance, benefits, my accumulated sick leave, comp time, and all that — well, there won’t be any comp time obviously. Sick leave, vacation. Just like they did at D’Iberville,” Rose told Tindell, according to a transcript provided in the appeal. “And I’ll never show up, and I’ll never say a word.”

Tindell said in the appeal: “(Rose’s) testimony before the ALJ cannot be blamed on lack of memory or mistake. It is simply false testimony provided under oath.”

Rose’s attorney, James Halliday, said last week his client was vindicated by Nyberg’s decision. Halliday also said the unemployment benefits was an important victory for Rose, who has been unable to find full-time employment since June with the exception of being a part-time consultant for Lumberton while the city ironed out its budget.

Rose was suspended with pay April 23 and fired in June after a City Council special hearing in which he did not attend. The city’s allegations against Rose included bad management, excessive absences from City Hall and overall ineffectiveness.

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Information from: The Sun Herald, https://www.sunherald.com

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