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Former Jonesboro police chief appeals his dismissal

By Linda Looney-Bond

lbond@news-daily.com

Former Jonesboro Police Chief Brad Johnson, who was fired last week, has filed an appeal with the city to get his job back.

"Brad carried a letter to the city hall today, asking for a hearing before the city council, pursuant to the city charter and code, asking that he be placed on the first available agenda," said Johnson's attorney, Keith Martin Thursday.

Jonesboro Mayor Luther Maddox said he had not, yet, seen the letter, and referred all questions to City Attorney Steven Fincher.

"We haven't seen anything he [Johnson] might have filed, so there's no way I can respond to it," said Fincher Wednesday. He said he could not give a time frame for the city's response to the filing.

Martin said the deadline for the city to respond is not clear. "Some provisions [in the charter], I believe, require it to be done within 20 days. Then there are other provisions that don't set a time line," said Martin.

Maddox said he fired Johnson because he did not successfully complete his "working test," presumably a probationary period.

Johnson said he believed the "working test" referred to probation, but said he was not aware that there was a probationary period for the police chief.

He also said he does not believe the mayor has the authority to fire the chief without the council's approval.

Johnson's firing comes after Maddox suspended him last month for wearing blue jeans on the job, and for what Maddox said was disrespect of the office of mayor. In an appeal hearing, the council upheld the suspension, but reduced it from five days without pay to 2 1/2 days without pay.

Martin said Johnson will appeal the suspension in court. "We have already ordered the [appeal hearing] transcript," said Martin. "As soon as that transcript is available, we will be filing an appeal in Superior Court," he said.