Suit filed by former City of Commece employee

Commerce – A former City of Commerce employee has filed a lawsuit against the city, claiming he was fired and his constitutional rights violated because he supported the city manager.

Richard C. Huie had been employed as public utilities director between October 2006 and his termination in February.

The suit was filed Monday. The city had not filed any response as of Wednesday.

In the suit, Huie said he attended the September 15, 2009 city council meeting during which the council was to evaluate Miller. During a public hearing concerning the matter, Huie spoke in favor of Miller, stating the problem could have been remedied with better communication.

He was suspended with pay on January 28.

On February 2, Huie issued a written complaint to the city attorney, claiming he had been singled out for an internal investigation regarding possible misconduct in the Utility Department. According to the suit, the city had been experiencing compliance problems with the Texas Commission on Environmental Property (TCEQ) regarding inflow and infiltration of water and sewage before Huie's employment with the city had begun.

On February 4, Huie was fired.

City Manager Miller was suspended with pay on March 4.