COLUMBIA — One city employee has resigned and three others have been told to resign or be fired, according to an attorney.
Four employees were placed on administrative leave on July 9 and have now been given an ultimatum by the city.
Colleen Spurlock and Kyle Rieman were two of the employees. They attended a Columbia City Council meeting on June 21 where city employee Ryan Jarrett gave a presentation during the public comment section regarding "staffing and morale within the City government," according to a letter from TGH Litigation.
Spurlock submitted a resignation letter Friday morning after meeting with City Manager John Glascock and her supervisor on Thursday.
In the letter, Spurlock said Glascock told her she was "not supporting his decisions."
The city did not respond to requests for comment.
Spurlock said in her letter that she and Rieman consulted the HR department about policies related to employees in a dating relationship after Rieman was told he could not attend the same conference as Spurlock.
"The notion that you could be fired as a city employee for going to talk to HR about HR policies is absurd," said Columbia attorney Andrew Hirth.
Hirth is representing Spurlock and Rieman.
In her resignation letter, Spurlock wrote, "I, unfortunately, do not feel myself or other City employees are safe or valued anymore due to the City Manager creating a hostile work environment."
Rieman was told his leave was because of his support of Jarrett at the City Council meeting.
"We think it's violating the first amendment," Hirth said. "We demand that you restore Kyle to his regular position as well as the others."
Hirth said that Glascock could leave Columbia at a disadvantage when he retires in December.
"I would think that the city council would have to question the wisdom of keeping Glascock on for the last five months of his tenure," Hirth said.