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Ex-deputy fights to get job back
Woman fired for neglect of duty
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Forsyth County News
A former Forsyth County Sheriff’s deputy has asked for her job back after she was fired for reportedly neglecting her duties four times within a 36-month span.

The Forsyth County Civil Service Board has 30 days to issue its decision on Kristin Adkins’ appeal following a hearing that began Thursday and ended Friday.

Adkins was terminated May 16 for neglect of duty.

She testified that she had gone to Panama City, Fla., in late April for a motorcycle rally. She left late May 2 and got stranded on her way back to Forsyth County. As a result, she missed work May 3. She was also six minutes late for work May 4.

Robert Reid, the attorney representing Adkins, argued that the sheriff’s office violated county policy by not giving Adkins advance notice of a dismissal conference she would have to attend in which she would be terminated.

He also contended that she was not given access to the evidence against her.

“For these reasons and other reasons I’ve stated, my client should not lose her job over this mistake and under the circumstances that they did not follow policies,” Reid said.

He asked that Adkins’ be reinstated and that her discipline be reduced to a 40-hour suspension.

“Let my client go back, try to do her job,” he said. “If she can’t, there will be discipline again. But my client learned her lesson here. She made a terrible mistake.

“She’s been honest about that mistake and she was not given the procedural rights that are guaranteed by the county commission.”

Attorney Thomas Mondelli, who represented the county, argued that the sheriff’s office didn’t have to give her advance notice because of safety concerns.

He said the policy shows that such notice isn’t required if it is deemed necessary to protect the county or an employee.

“That covers a wide swath of possible scenarios and I will submit that what happened with Ms. Adkins is included,” Mondelli said.

He referred to testimony that the sheriff’s office is different from other county departments and that many of its employees are armed and have access to sensitive information.

Adkins was not allowed to wear a firearm at work in May because she had been placed on light duty while recovering from surgery.

Mondelli said Adkins was given “ample notice” that she could be fired from her job.

“She knows that four strikes on neglect of duty and you are either out the door or demoted,” Mondelli said. “Even if she didn’t fully know on May 4, she certainly knew what she was in for by the eighth or ninth.

“And then to say that she had no idea that whatever meeting she was called into on the 19th was about this disciplinary action after she gave a written statement ... is simply laughable, especially in light of the fact that there has been no evidence that Ms. Adkins was facing another disciplinary proceeding that she could confuse the two with.”

Adkins testified that she left Panama City alone on her motorcycle because the group she had gone down there with wasn’t coming back until the next day.

She said she got lost on her way back, which included getting stuck in Phenix City, Ala., and struggled through thunderstorms. She said her cell phone stopped working properly on the trip.

Adkins said she had to stop along the way, at some places for three or four hours at a time, and didn’t make it back to Forsyth County until about 11 p.m. May 3.

She was expected at work at 11 a.m. that day.

Sheriff’s Deputy Katie Mahaffey testified that Adkins called the sheriff’s court services division May 3 and told her she was stuck in Alabama and wouldn’t be on time to work, if she made it that day at all.

Mahaffey said she offered to get a supervisor on the phone, but Adkins declined because she was using a stranger’s cell phone and said she’d call back.

Witnesses testified that Adkins did call back several times from her own cell phone, but no one could hear her when they answered.

Tiffany Banks, an administrative specialist for the sheriff’s office, testified that she was directed by two of her supervisors to keep an eye on Adkins after the deputy was placed on light duty.

Banks said she was told “to make sure that things were getting done.”

“If things weren’t getting done, then I wasn’t supposed to help her enter any papers or anything like that,” Banks said. “It was just to make sure she was doing what she was supposed to be doing.”

She said she was also asked to write a memo listing any deficiencies or anything negative she noticed in the way Adkins did her job.

Banks said a supervisor suggested she replace the part of the memo where she had written that Adkins was fully capable of doing her job with information about her deficiencies.

Banks said she had previously been asked to “spy” on two other employees, neither of whom were on light duty.