JENNINGS, Mo. – Resignations are piling up in a northern St. Louis suburb after what’s described as an out-of-the-blue attempted ousting of the city attorney.
The FOX Files can confirm the city attorney, city clerk, accounting coordinator, and the building’s department manager have all departed the City of Jennings. Three of the resignations came on Tuesday. The contractor in charge of building the new city hall also left, according to a letter that the FOX Files obtained.
Sources confirm Jennings City Clerk Deletra Hudson sent her letter of resignation to Mayor Gary Johnson and the city council on Tuesday.
“I am finding it difficult to continue in this work environment that lacks mutual trust and includes practices that go against my moral beliefs,” Hudson wrote.
Hours later, the city’s accounting coordinator quit. In a memo, she cited alleged unethical behavior.
City Attorney Sam Alton also resigned.
“The actions of Mayor Johnson are illegal, unethical, immoral, retaliatory, and racist,” Alton wrote. “I have since learned of additional unethical actions by the mayor, leading to other valued employees resigning, as well as the construction manager for the city center project.”
Alton’s departure comes after Johnson called an emergency meeting last week to terminate him, but there were not enough votes to issue a pink slip, a source said.
A city council member described the meeting to fire Alton as “confusing,” and said no attorney was present to guide the council.
Three weeks ago, Alton spoke publicly about how Jennings tried to tow a vehicle from someone’s driveway without a warrant.
At the time, Alton said it was a grey area but believed, if possible, the city should seek an administrative search warrant to take the vehicle.
“Legally, would I recommend getting an administrative warrant? Sure. Can it always happen? Should it always happen? Not necessarily. It’s just a little bit complicated,” Alton said last month.
Alton specifically noted the FOX Files interview in his letter of resignation.
“By the mayor’s own admission, his move to terminate my employment is retaliatory for my suggestion that the city obtain administrative warrants prior to towing cars from personal property,” Alton wrote. “The mayor makes many unsupported, conspiracy-like allegations. I would suggest that you, as council members, ask for proof of his unsupported allegations in the future.”
A contractor responsible for managing the construction of the new city hall called it quits, according to a letter dated Aug. 4.
Multiple attempts were made to reach Johnson at city hall, by phone and text message, but he did not respond to our messages for a comment.