Former ALE director can challenge his firing on political grounds

11/01/2013 2:49 PM

11/01/2013 2:50 PM

A former director of the state Alcohol Law Enforcement division can pursue a legal challenge to his firing on the ground that his dismissal was politically motivated, a judge ruled Friday.

An order by Administrative Law Judge Fred Morrison Jr. denied the state’s motion to dismiss John Ledford’s claim that he was fired because he was a Democrat and Gov. Pat McCrory’s new administration was Republican.

Morrison granted the state’s motion to dismiss the claim on a separate ground: Because Ledford was not a career state employee, his claim that he was fired without just cause cannot be heard by an administrative law judge. But the ruling means the question of whether Ledford was fired because of his political affiliation will continue to be litigated.

The state Department of Public Safety says it fired Ledford in April because, prior to the new administration in January, he demoted himself to the rank of agent, took a 41 percent pay cut and assigned himself to the Asheville area, where he comes from.

The department said he exceeded his authority, the job was never posted for other applicants, and he proposed a salary that would have made him the highest paid ALE agent in the state.

Under the Dome logo

Under the Dome

Under the Dome is your inside source on North Carolina politics and government and has been a regular feature in The N&O since 1934. Check here for the latest on state and federal government, political advocacy and upcoming elections. This blog is maintained by the N&O politics staff.

Join the Discussion

News & Observer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Terms of Service