Wednesday, September 4, 2013
ANDREWS S.C. — Former Andrews Police Chief Jennifer Flowers has filed a lawsuit against the town and its mayor, Rodney Giles, alleging breach of contract and defamation because of her October, 2012 firing.
Flowers was the Andrews police chief for about three years when she was terminated.
Giles, at the time of her dismissal, said the action was the result of “insubordination” on the part of Flowers. He said she hired two police officers without the approval of himself or Andrews Town Council.
The positions were budgeted but approval was not given to hire the individuals chosen by Flowers.
In the suit, Flowers explained the hiring process. She says she received eight applications from prospective officers but “few” met the qualifications for the positions.
She was able to identify two that were qualified but she then advertised the positions. After receiving no additional applications, she hired the two she deemed to be qualified.
The next day she was called to a meeting with Giles, the town administrator and two members of council.
At that meeting, Giles told Flowers she “hires too many white people” and then called her “a racist,” the suit states.
Flowers said she believes that meeting was recorded.
As the meeting continued, Giles told Flowers “she did not know how to perform her job in a professional manner” to which Flowers responded she “always maintained a high level of professionalism and integrity when dealing with the Town of Andrews and its employees,” the legal document states.
As a result of Giles comments, Flowers added defamation to the suit.
She said the statements by Giles were shared with others such as the town administrator, council members and possibly other town employees.
On Oct. 17, 2012, Flowers received a call from the town administrator informing her she was fired.
She filed a grievance with the town saying she “was subjected to unfair, discriminatory and abusive treatment.”
The town still has not responded to Flowers’ request for a grievance hearing.
On Oct. 23, 2012 Flowers submitted a Freedom of Information request seeking documents related to her employment and termination. That request has also been ignored by the town.
She filed a separate suit trying to force the release of the documents she is seeking but the town has issued no response to that either.
So, Flowers has filed a complaint with the South Carolina Human Affairs Commission and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
As a result of the town not granting the grievance hearing, as outlined in the town’s employee handbook, Flowers alleges breach of contract in her suit.
The suit states Flowers “had a very good reputation in the community” at the time of her firing.
Flowers does not specify an amount she is seeking. She wants the court to decide the damages.
She is being represented by attorney Robert Maring.
Giles said Tuesday he cannot comment on the lawsuit.
By Scott Harper
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