Lott upholds Strang dismissal

ALBANY, Ga. -- Citing ongoing behavioral problems, uncontested criticism of her shortcomings as a licensed attorney and a failure to follow an employee improvement plan, City Manager Alfred Lott has upheld the termination of an assistant city attorney.

In a two-page letter dated Wednesday, Lott said that he had decided to sustain City Attorney Nathan Davis' recommendation to fire Assistant City Attorney Kathy Strang based both on evidence presented by Davis and by Strang during a recent appeal hearing.

Davis recommended the termination for what he contended was

Strang's unprofessionalism and negligence in the office, which he said included missing a hearing and working for another city without permission while employed with the city of Albany.

Strang, who has filed her own grievance against Davis, contends that Davis has been the one that has contributed to a hostile work environment through both derogatory comments to her and unequal treatment of her when compared to another assistant city attorney.

In his letter to Strang, Lott writes that "the cumulative consequence of your misconduct was to create a hostile work environment for all other employees in the City Attorney's Office," and that Strang's conduct worsened that environment through her use of "racial slurs and disparaging references to the race of fellow employees."

In terms of her professional performance of her duties as an attorney, Lott writes that because Strang presented nothing at her appeal hearing to refute Davis' claims about her conduct, he has accepted Davis' opinions on those matters.

Lott also found issue with her degree of involvement with a performance improvement plan or PIP that she had been placed on.

"The evidence clearly indicates that you did not develop a strategy to strengthen your ability to create an atmosphere of teamwork and collegial engagement as directed in writing by the coaching and mentoring plan," Lott writes.

"In summary, I have reviewed all of the matters concerning the termination recommendation presented for my consideration by your supervisor, Mr. Nathan Davis, and decided to sustain the termination recommendation," he writes.

Attempts to get comment from Strang's attorney, Andrew Coffman, were unsuccessful Thursday.

Strang's termination may be the end of a tumultuous period in the City Attorney's Office, but it likely won't be the end of her involvement in the city.

Sources familiar with the situation say that there is a good possibility that Strang is contemplating suing the city for discrimination and retribution and, in her grievance, essentially hints that she believes she was retaliated against for reporting that Davis had a handgun in his desk.

"For these reasons, I request an immediate transfer and end to the hostile, harassing and discriminatory treatment to which Mr. Davis has subjected me," she writes. "I believe that I have been discriminated against based upon my age and race. I believe I have been retaliated against based upon my participation in the EEO counseling process and based upon my report to the EEO Manager that Mr. Davis had a gun on city property."

Strang writes in her grievance that she was treated differently from another assistant attorney through work assignments and reassignments, training opportunities, discriminate enforcement of certain policies and through general social disparities.