After seven hours of listening to evidence from both sides and hearing a recommendation from a moderating judge, Macon City Council voted 10-4 to reinstate Richard Powell as Macon's Public Works Director.
Powell was placed on paid administrative leave, pending termination in February of this year by the Mayor.
Powell spent more than two years as Macon's Public Works Director.
41 NBC spoke to Powell right after city council voted to reinstate him.
"I think a lot of people on the council, other than the information that was here, also saw the job that I was doing and I think that speaks for itself," said Powell.
Powell took a pounding from the Mayor's administration attorney, Tom Richardson, as he told council Powell was unable to complete job duties.Richardson said Powell lacked communication and management skills and failed to perform correctly in personnel issues.
Richardson also noted that Powell could not stay within budget. Powell took the stand and denied the accusation and says there were contributing factors that couldn't be controlled, like employee overtime.
"At times we were over the benchmark, but there's some benchmarks that you can't control. But the overall budget will show it was under budget," said Powell.
Councilman Henry Ficklin voted to reinstate Powell and stands behind his fiscal judgment.
"If there is one thing I know it is city budgets and we looked at the audit report and the audit report didn't have anything amiss about that department," said Ficklin.
The Mayor and the city's human resources director, Ben Hubbard, testified against Powell and former CAO Thomas Thomas supported the termination through a video. Other allegations brought from the Mayor's administration against Powell included: damaging a land excavator that cost the city 50-thousand dollars, and that a female employee of the city reported sexual harassment against Powell.
All the evidence led moderating judge Rusty Gunn to recommend upholding Powell's termination to council.
"The bottom line is it appears that Mr. Powell was not up to the administrative, supervisory, management responsibilities of what sounds like a very difficult job," said Gunn.
Council members Ed Defore, Lauren Benedict, Nancy White, and Jamie Kaplan voted in favor of firing Powell. Council needed 10 votes to override the mayors decision and they had just enough, with 10.
"I think we made the right decision," said Councilman Larry Schlesinger.
Powell's attorney, Maurice King, said improvements with city's landfill inspection scores validate the performance of his client.
"The inspection of the land fill was 40, he brought it up to a 75 and now that he's gone it's down to a 50," said King.
Now Powell looks forward to serving the city once again.
"It's just been a long wait but I'm glad we got to the hearing. I'm glad that everybody got to hear the information and that the council believes in me enough to state me back and put me back so that I can do another good job for the city," said Powell.
The Mayor's administration said Powell was the only department head to fail his evaluation...and blamed a lack of communication and organization for his poor review.