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Tobar settles lawsuit against former employer

Grady County administrator Carlos Tobar recently accepted a $45,000 settlement in a federal lawsuit he brought against his former employer, Jeff Davis County.
The Messenger obtained copies of the settlement documents from the Association County Commissioners of Georgia this week after attempting for weeks to gain access to the public records. ACCG’s Interlocal Risk Management Agency hired Richard K. Strickland of Brown, Readdick, Bumgartner, Carter, Strickland & Watkins, LLP to represent Jeff Davis County in the matter.
A stipulation of dismissal was filed by Tobar’s attorney Terina Williams of Southworth PC on Sept. 27. The Messenger had reported in early September that Tobar had said his suit was only days from being resolved. This was after he was reprimanded by the Grady County Commission for using a county vehicle without authorization to travel to Macon to attend a mediation session in the lawsuit held on Aug. 22.
On Aug. 7, 2015, Tobar initiated the lawsuit against Jeff Davis County and three county commissioners who voted on Feb. 6, 2013 to terminate him only three months after he started working there on Nov. 7, 2012.
Tobar’s suit alleged he was dismissed because of his race and national origin.
The Jeff Davis County board of commissioners voted Feb. 6, 2013 to terminate Tobar on a vote cast by three Caucasian males; the other two commissioners walked out of the meeting prior to the vote. Tobar’s suit noted that a white male was hired to replace Tobar immediately following his termination.
When asked this week to comment on the settlement Tobar said, “I found out that the three commissioners who terminated me were all voted out of office. I really liked the people of Jeff Davis County and this confirms to me that they are good people and did not like the actions of those rogue commissioners.”
However, Tommy Purser, editor and publisher of The Jeff Davis Ledger, said this week it is unclear if Tobar’s dismissal had any bearing on the ouster of the three commissioners who voted to fire him.
Purser said that the voters in Jeff Davis County have not been happy with the county commission for some time and pointed out that the two commissioners who walked out of the meeting in protest of the vote to fire Tobar had also been voted out of office.
“So, come 2017, the sweep of the commissioners who were in office when Tobar was released will be complete,” Purser stated.
Purser said the job of county administrator in Jeff Davis County has been a revolving door for the last several years and noted that in one 12-month period the county had four different administrators or interim administrators.
Jeff Davis County officials also seemed to be in the dark about the settlement of the Tobar suit.
The county clerk in Jeff Davis County recently told Editor Purser that the case had been settled for between $40,000 and $50,000 while the county commission chairman said he thought it was for $4,000 to $5,000.
Tobar’s suit is similar to one filed by former Grady County accounting clerk Blair Bracewell against Grady County for Tobar’s alleged discrimination of her after he learned she was pregnant out of wedlock.
Ms. Bracewell recently settled her suit for $65,000.
Tobar had been fired from three previous jobs before being hired by the Grady County Commission to begin work on June 3, 2013.

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