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Compton challenges Pulaski over firing

Tom Compton-webBy MELINDA WILLIAMS

melinda@southwesttimes.com

 

Pulaski’s former building inspector, who was terminated in April, has filed a Writ of Mandamus in Pulaski County Circuit Court seeking to force the town to reinstate him with full benefits.

Tom Compton, a 63-year-old, 27-year employee of the town, was terminated April 10, according to the writ. Richard J. Conrod Sr. of Conrod & Company Law Firm in Virginia Beach represents Compton.

The writ contends Compton was terminated in a letter of termination signed by Engineer Bill Pedigo without being given “a full opportunity to be heard on specific and relevant charges” before Pulaski Town Council. The filing “demands” Compton be given “an evidentiary hearing” before the council.

Compton contends in the writ that the termination places the town in violation of the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code because Compton was “replaced by someone (Fire Marshal Todd Garwood) who is not presently certified, and cannot be certified within the requisite one year” cited by Virginia certification standards. He further contends that Garwood will not be able to meet qualification requirements, which state:

“The building official shall have at least five years of building experience as a licensed professional engineer or architect, building, fire or trade inspector, contractor, housing inspector or superintendent of building, fire or trade construction or at least five years of building experience after obtaining a degree in architecture or engineering, with at least three in responsible charge of work. Any combination of education and experience that would confer equivalent knowledge and ability shall be deemed to satisfy this requirement.”

The qualifications go on to say that building officials “shall have general knowledge of sound engineering practice in respect to the design and construction of structures, the basic principles of fire prevention, the accepted requirements for means of egress and the installation of elevators and other service equipment necessary for the health, safety and general welfare of the occupants and the public.”

The writ emphasizes that building officials must have “at least five years” of building experience.

Compton also alleges the town violated the Virginia Administrative Code, Virginians with Disabilities Act and Americans with Disabilities Act by terminating his employment. He points out that he had a stroke April 7, 2012 that left him with “cognitive impairment” that “adversely affects his ability to learn, utilize and manage the ever changing computer technology.”

Compton contends co-workers were advised by superiors or supervisors not to assist him with the computers. He says the stroke rendered him a “person with disability,” thus protecting him from dismissal as a result of that disability. In fact, he contends the disability “requires his employer to make ‘reasonable accommodations’ for his disability, rather than to militate against ‘reasonable accommodations.’”

The writ contends town council has a legal obligation “to prevent and not participate in or facilitate any retaliation against” Compton. Nevertheless, it states, “Upon information and belief, an individual of considerable influence in Pulaski has been displeased with Tom Compton’s enforcement of the building maintenance code against that person’s interests” and “as a result of that displeasure events precipitated this action against” Compton.

“The clear intent of the (Virginia Administrative Code) is that a code compliance officer be free to do his duty without fear of manipulation, potential pressure or reprisal,” the writ adds.

As a result of his firing, the filing states that Compton lost his seniority, employee benefits and compensation. He states that he needs health insurance coverage until he is eligible for Medicare in two years, but the cost of a private policy is cost prohibitive for him and pre-existing medical conditions could prevent him from obtaining coverage.

Compton is seeking reinstatement to his former position and a declaration by the court that his termination was contrary to the authority of the town and its council. He also is asking the court to order that he retain his seniority, receive retroactive pay for the duration of his termination period, recover his court costs and recover any other relief the court may deem fit.

No hearing dates have been set for the case.

 

14 Responses to Compton challenges Pulaski over firing

  1. don newman

    June 17, 2013 at 7:27 pm

    GO TOM!!!!!!!!!! IN MY 30 YEARS WITH THE TOWN YOU AND JOHN HAWLEY,PLUS DAVID QUESENBERRY,WHERE THE ONLY 3 STRAIGHT SHOOTERS I KNEW ON THE SECOND FLOOR OF THE BUILDING. WISH YOU LUCK.

    • Va Girl

      June 19, 2013 at 8:29 am

      Well if he’s an honest man it explains why the town wanted him gone. I hear most of the folks running Town of Pulaski are dirty and those type of people prefer the honest be far away from them and their dealings. Hopefully Mr. Compton will prevail.

      • Some Dude

        June 22, 2013 at 4:29 pm

        Town management doesn’t believe honesty. That’s a good reason for them to want him gone.

  2. Stan K. Massie

    June 18, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    Good Luck Tom – If you need me for anything just call – 276-223-3339

  3. Jinnie

    June 18, 2013 at 11:46 pm

    What is going on puLaski?!? Tom Hawley Tom Compton? How about the mayor next? Who is making the “rules”? I know we need new blood and agree wholeheartedly but why this way? Way to go Don. Watch out You Will Be Next!!!

  4. Jerry Porterfield

    June 22, 2013 at 2:41 pm

    Tom you were nothing but the best when I needed your services. Hang in there & give them hell old friend.

  5. Kelly

    June 25, 2013 at 11:42 am

    I wish you the very best Tom!!! Make it count not only for yourself but the good men and women who have suffered the same injustices by the Town of Pulaski!

  6. Donna Ferguson

    June 26, 2013 at 10:13 am

    Best of Luck Mr. Compton. I have lived in this town all my life and have seen the people that wanted to see it grow, be defeated or let go. That’s why Pulaski is only know for being a drug hole. The only thing people come into the town for are Drugs. There are no jobs here for young people that pay more than minimum wage and there are no dissent restaurants other than fast foods. The Town of Pulaski has really gone down, while Dublin has shown growth and possibilities for the future. What a shame for our younger generation.

  7. Wanda Draper Christen

    June 28, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    I grew up in Pulaski and although I do miss the beautiful mountains there and my friends and relatives, that is all I miss, Pulaski has always been and always will be corrupt, as long as the people running it get away with what they have always done. No one who has an honest bone in their body will ever change the way Pulaski is run as long as the people in charge get away with their dirty dealings.

  8. sam

    June 29, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    yes belive the town needs to me look-in too.
    I don’t belive in to taxes neith there should
    be only one with one rep for each distrect. Because
    they could run all program better than the ones in
    town; WE need to work to bring all things to one
    conclusion.

    • Also Concerned

      July 1, 2013 at 4:49 pm

      REALLY!!!!??!! Just what are you trying to say?

  9. Jean

    July 2, 2013 at 3:35 pm

    How about reverting out of town status and be part of the county again like Fairlawn? That would save a lot of tax money and get rid of the corruption???

  10. John

    July 3, 2013 at 6:46 pm

    Jean, I appreciate your comment, but were the Town to revert to the County, those of us living in Town would probably be part of a special tax district to fund the services needed to keep an urban area alive. Reversion is not a solution — only investment and growth is.