Jury rules ex-Anderson mayor improperly fired workers

A federal jury has found that 11 people were improperly fired from their Anderson city government jobs after a new mayor took office.

The jury decided Tuesday that the city should pay $740,000 in damages to eight of the fired workers. The (Anderson) Herald Bulletin reports that the jury awarded no damages to three of those who were fired.

The workers filed the wrongful termination lawsuit after they were fired at the start of Republican Mayor Kevin Smith's administration in 2012. They claim their firings were politically motivated because each supported the re-election campaign of Democratic Mayor Kris Ockomon.

The city's attorney, Anthony Overhold, argued the workers were fired because they held policy making or confidential positions or had poor job performance.

Smith had fought the lawsuit all the way to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled he was not entitled to qualified immunity in June 2015.

Smith lost his re-election bid in November.

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