Attorney seeks $1M from Snellville City Council

The attorney for the embattled Snellville city clerk has made a demand that the city pay her $1 million for her pain and suffering or face a lawsuit.

Harry Daniels says his client, Phyllis Richardson, suffered irreparable harm when she was turned away from her job every day for six months after being sworn in by Mayor Kelly Kautz in January 2014.

Kautz filed suit against the council and city manager after her appointment was not recognized.

It wasn’t until a settlement was reached between the mayor and council last summer that Richardson began serving in her position.

“She played her part as an officer of the city of Snellville, but she was completely shut out and embarrassed,” Daniels tells WSB’s Sandra Parrish.

The city council has 30 days to respond to the demand for a settlement.

A city spokesman acknowledges the city has received the demand but has no comment. Repeated attempts to reach Mayor Pro Tem Tom Witts were also unsuccessful.

The city has maintained the position of city clerk was already filled at the time by former clerk Melisa Arnold when Kautz appointed Richardson.  Kautz says she has the authority to not only hire but fire the city clerk. Arnold was not fired, but asked to serve in other capacities by Kautz.

During the trial last summer, Arnold resigned her position leading to a settlement between the two sides.

Daniels says a recent Georgia Supreme Court decision giving the mayor the ability to hire and fire the city attorney applies to the position of city clerk as well.

He believes the ruling will be precedent for his claim against the city.

“Irreparable harm has been caused to Mrs. Richardson in this whole ordeal, and she is entitled to compensation as well as an apology."

Daniels is also representing Richardson in a separate complaint filed with the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission over her treatment by staff and council members since she began working for the city.

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