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Firefighter sues city for back pay

Albany Firefighter Roderick Jolivette is photographed in this Albany Herald file photo. Charges against Jolivette were dropped by the district attorney's office in Chattahoochee County Tuesday.

Albany Firefighter Roderick Jolivette is photographed in this Albany Herald file photo. Charges against Jolivette were dropped by the district attorney's office in Chattahoochee County Tuesday.

ALBANY, Ga. -- In a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Dougherty Superior Court, Albany firefighter Roderick Jolivette is asking the court to award him $51,935.34 in pay that was withheld while he was suspended pending an out-of-county felony case that was nolle prossed.

Howard Stiller, the attorney representing Jolivette, said his client is seeking what is rightfully his.

"We are not trying to ruffle any feathers," Stiller said. "He is due is back wages and that's what the lawsuit hopes to accomplish.

"We are hopeful the city will now re-think its position and pay him."

City Manager Alfred Lott said Tuesday afternoon he was unaware of Jolivette's court filing.

"Nothing of that nature has crossed my desk at this time," Lott said. "Even so, my practice is not to comment on pending legal matters."

An individual in City Attorney Nathan Davis' office said Davis was out of the office until Thursday.

In addition to the $51,935.34 in back pay that Jolivette contends he is owed, he is asking for attorney fees and "other and further relief as is deemed just and proper."

Jolivette was reinstated by the Albany Fire Department last August when a Chattahoochee County Superior Court judge signed an order to drop charges of impersonating an officer and speeding stemming from an August 2009 traffic stop near Cusseta. Jolivette was indicted on the charge in September 2009.

In the suit, Jolivette contends the city of Albany has paid other employees "in the same or similar circumstances," resulting in Jolivette being treated differently than other employees in violation of his equal protection rights under the state Constitution. He also argues that city officials have acted "in bad faith" in disregarding his rights and refusing to pay him.

Last April, Jolivette filed a federal lawsuit charging that he was demoted from his job as assistant fire chief in retaliation for his speaking out against the fire department's process of selecting a deputy fire chief. He contends the action was discriminatory.

That action came after city officials determined that Jolivette had misused fire equipment and personnel to benefit family members.

Metro Editor Carlton Fletcher and staff writer Jennifer Parks contributed to this report.