Abbeville’s suspended police chief has filed an official complaint against the City Council, claiming it violated its own policies in rendering punishment against the chief recently.
Noel Vanlandingham filed the complaint in Henry County Circuit Court Friday afternoon. It alleges breach of employment rights and failure to follow procedures. The complaint seeks compensatory and punitive damages.
Vanlandingham began serving a suspension this week following a series of Abbeville City Council meetings in which alleged inappropriate behavior by the chief was discussed in executive session outside public view.
According to the complaint, the council informed Vanlandingham he was being suspended for “conduct that is unbecoming as an employee” and violation of city policy by allowing another employee to possess a city vehicle while on leave of absence.
The complaint indicates the council informed Vanlandingham that an audio recording of Vanlandingham published online was the source of the conduct finding. No other information was available.
The complaint was filed on behalf of Vanlandingham by Dothan attorneys Stephen T. Etheredge and Dustin Fowler of the firm Buntin, Etheredge and Fowler. It contends the council did not follow City of Abbeville Personnel Policy procedures in handing down the disciplinary action against the chief. It also contends the suspension was retaliatory in manner.
Because the complaint was filed Friday afternoon, the council has not had an opportunity to respond to the complaint.