Phenix City Officials Headed To Federal Court

A lawsuit claiming an unjust firing by Phenix City is headed to federal court.  Former municipal clerk Max Wilkes filed the lawsuit last month, after being fired with 29 years of service.

The former Phenix City municipal clerk sued because he feels his civil rights were violated.  Some folks believe Wilkes should still be on the job at city hall.  "I feel that he was doing a great job for the city.  I just feel this man was not given due process," said Nimrod Stephens, Phenix City Resident.

The lawsuit will now be heard in Federal Court at Montgomery.  Wilkes attorney say he was told he was dismissed because of budget reasons.  "Our allegations are that he was fired because of his intentions, whether real or imagined by the city officials that he would run for mayor.  We were basically told that he was terminated because of that," said Thomas Worthy.

Originally both sides thought the lawsuit would be heard in Russell County, but the new location in Montgomery should only pose minor issues.  "It will be a matter of inconvenience for the parties and also for the public.  Personally, we would have rather for it to be in Russell County," said Worthy.

While others believe this lawsuit is a simple waste of taxpayer dollars.  "It must have been for some reason other than he was going to run for mayor.  I don't believe people are just let go for one little thing or another.  I think you have to be let go for big things," said Cheryl Hotchkiss, Phenix City Resident.

Max Wilkes attorney say they are seeking both compensatory and punitive damages.  Though no specific amount has been mentioned.

News Leader Nine made calls to Phenix City attorney Jimmy Graham, but none of those calls were returned.