Tonight, Richard Powell is just days away from returning to his job as Macon's Public Works Director.
After nine months of back and forth in the appeals process, council finally decided to reinstate him late last night.
"I am still dumbfounded," says Macon Mayor Robert Reichert.
The moderating judge Rusty Gunn sat through seven hours of testimony with council. He recommended council uphold the mayor's decision, but in a 10-4 vote they went against the city's leader.
"The weight on the side of the defendant was the greatest weight," says Henry Ficklin, Macon City Council.
Mayor Reichert says the outcome was unexpected. When asked if he thought council would reinstate Powell, the mayor replied, "No. No I did not."
The Mayor's attorney, Tom Richardson, hit Powell with heavy accusations. He stated Powell could not stay within budget, he lacks management skills, and he damaged a land excavator that cost the city $50,000. Richardson also told council a female city employee reported sexual harassment against Powell.
Along with nine of his peers, councilman Henry Ficklin wasn't swayed by the allegations. He also says he saw a trend under the former CAO.
"You have to understand, you have to look at the whole administration under Thomas Thomas, the number of heads that roll."
Now that Powell is back, it's a reality the mayor is forced to face.
"I'm not going to go on a witch hunt, but I'm sure we're going to make him toe the line. We're going to put him back to work like any other department."
Mayor Reichert says he will be compensated more than $51,300 for the 9 months he was out of a job. Powell will return to work at 8:30 am on Monday.