Former water employee appeals termination - - Jackson, MS

Former water employee appeals termination

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

A City of Jackson Public Works employee is fighting to get his job back.

Last week, employee Jonathan Yaeger's was terminated for talking with a news reporter about the city's water problems.  

Wednesday, a disciplinary action review committee for the city of Jackson interviewed Yeager. It was the first time the Jackson State graduate student was able to give his side of the story. 

"I would certainly not assume that asking a question was harmless," said Yaeger.  

Yaeger said if he could do anything differently, he would have been a little more cautious during his research of Jackson's water for a research paper for his graduate studies at Jackson State.

"Learned of the Flint Michigan lead contamination in the water and decided to do a research paper on lead and pollutable water, knowing there are lead joints in the Jackson's distribution system," explained Yaeger.

Yeager obtained a piece of pipe joint that had been removed from the water distribution system and gave it to a local reporter. 

"I wanted to broaden awareness of the potential for lead leaking from the distribution system and I wanted to educate the public about the need to use water filters," said Yaeger.

On March 23rd Public Works director Kishia Powell sent Yaeger a letter of termination. In it, Powell states: Yeager's actions contributed to false information being provided to the citizens of Jackson and possibly created unwarranted public fear.

However, Yeager's attorney says the city terminated his client wrongfully.

"They failed to fully investigate the situation and more importantly they failed to interview Mr. Yaeger himself to get his side of the story," said Louis Watson, Yaeger's attorney.  "We were told that at the end of the hearing that the matter is under review and that they will be getting back with Mr. Yaeger with a decision shortly; now how long that is, we don't know."

Yaeger's appeal is under review. 

"I'm hoping that the city will do the right thing and reinstate me because I strongly desire to serve the citizens of Jackson ," said Yaeger.

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