Putnam jury rules against former Hurricane employee

By Chris Dickerson | Oct 14, 2009

WINFIELD -- A Putnam County jury recently ruled against a former Hurricane city employee who said he was wrongfully fired.

The jury deliberated for about five hours before dismissing Raymond D. "Doug" Peak's claim against the city. The son of former mayor Raymond Peak, Doug Peak was the city's IT manager and benefits coordinator.

He said new Hurricane Mayor Scott Edwards had it in for him.

On July 1, 2007, Edwards became mayor. The next day, he presided over his first City Council meeting where Peak says City Councilman Donald Chaney accused him and City Manager Ben Newhouse of misusing a city vehicle and falsifying attendance records to play golf.

Shortly thereafter, Peak says he provided records and information showing these allegations were false. But he says the defendants made no effort to clear the public record.

The complaint also said Edwards told Peak that Chaney apologized for his behavior at the meeting, but nothing was done to publicly clear his name. Peak claimed Edwards also took a number of actions affecting his ability to perform his job.

City Council members voted to eliminate Peak's position at an ensuing council meeting, and Peak said Edwards fired him in August 2007.

Circuit Judge Phillip Stowers presided over the two-day trial. Attorney Lonnie Simmons of the Charleston law firm of DiTrapano, Barrett & DiPiero, represented Peak.

Putnam Circuit Court case number: 08-C-36

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