JACKSON, TENN. (CN) – The former City Recorder and Municipal Court Clerk of Milan, Tenn., says the town’s new mayor got rid of her because she is a “sassy redhead” who tried to keep him in line. Keri Williams says Mayor Chris Crider never criticized her work and even called her the “brains of the operation,” but expressed suspicion of redheads.
Williams started working for Milan, in 1991 according to her federal lawsuit. She says former Mayor George Killebrew appointed her city recorder in 2007. In Milan the city recorder also acts as Municipal Court Clerk, an elective position. Williams says she ran for that office and was elected in November 2007.
The job pays $1 a year.
He allegedly told Williams that he had heard that he “needed to get the sassy redhead out of City Hall,” and allegedly told other employees, “I don’t want sabotage; you know how redheaded women can be.”
Williams says she informed Crider and others about what alleged illegalities in Crider’s operation. She says Crider ordered city employees to work on private jobs, and made several important decisions without the required approval of the Board of Aldermen.
Crider also allegedly referred to citizens of the fourth ward as “darkies” and said he “ain’t giving them s-t (expletive) because they didn’t vote for me”.
After complimenting her on closing out the fiscal year, Crider allegedly told her, “Today is your last day” as city recorder. The mayor allegedly said it was due to her marital problems and said it would be better if she resigned.
Williams says she refused to sign a letter of resignation the city attorney brought her. She says that nonetheless, Mayor Crider told other city employees and the press that she had resigned. In one article the city attorney was quoted as saying “Ms. Williams resigned from her positions,” which she took to mean she was also being removed from her elected position as Municipal Court Clerk.
The city paid her the $1. She reinstatement as city recorder, and $500,000 in punitive damages. She is represented by Teresa Luna and Charles Farmer with Spragins, Barnett & Cobb.