Section 45-18-120.11Removal, discharge, or demotion of merit employee; proceedings before board; appeal.
(a) The govening body of the county, any member of the govening body, or the head of any department or office can remove, discharge, or demote any merit employee who is directly under such governing body, member thereof, or department head, provided that within five days a report in writing of such action is made to the merit system board, giving the reason for such removal, discharge, or demotion. The employee shall have 10 days from the time of notification of discharge, removal, or demotion in which to appeal to the merit system board. If such appeal is filed, the merit system board shall order the charges or complaint to be filed in writing, if not already filed, and shall hold a hearing de novo on such charges. No merit employee shall be removed, discharged, or demoted except for some personal misconduct or fact rendering his or her further tenure harmful to the public interest, or for some cause affecting or concerning his or her fitness or ability; and if such removal, discharge, or demotion is appealed to the merit system board, then the same shall become final only upon affirmation by the merit system board after a hearing upon written charges or complaint has been had and after an opportunity has been given such employee to face his or her accusers and be heard in his or her own defense. Pending a hearing on the appeal, the affected employee may be suspended; and after such hearing the merit system board may order the employee reinstated, demoted, removed, discharged, or suspended, or take such other disciplinary action as in their judgment is warranted by the evidence and under the law. In all cases, the decision of the merit system board shall be reduced to writing and entered in the record of the case and shall include the merit system board's finding of facts upon which its decision is based. In all proceedings before the merit system board, the county attorney shall appear and prosecute all charges instituted by the county governing body or any member thereof or by any department head, when requested or directed to do so by such county governing body. In all proceedings before the merit system board, when directed by the county governing body to do so, the county attorney shall appear and represent the interest of the county and give such legal advice and legal assistance to the merit system board as may be requested by it.
(b) The merit system board shall have the power to administer oaths, take depositions, certify officials acts, and issue subpoenas to compel the attendance of witnesses and production of papers necessary as evidence in connection with any hearing, investigation, or proceeding within the purview of this article. The sheriff or some other law enforcement officer of the county shall serve all processes of the merit system board. In case a person refuses to obey such subpoena, the merit system board may invoke the aid of the Circuit Court of Conecuh County in order that the testimony of evidence be produced. Upon proper showing, such court shall issue a subpoena or order requiring the person to appear before the merit system board and produce all evidence and give all testimony relating to the matter in issue. A person who fails to obey such subpoena or order may be punished by the circuit court as prescribed by law for contempt. The fees of witnesses for attendance and travel shall be the same as fees for witnesses in the Circuit Court of Conecuh County, which fees shall be paid from the treasury of the county.
(c) Any person aggrieved by a decision of the merit system board may appeal such decision to the Circuit Court of Conecuh County within 30 days from the rendition of such decision by the merit system board. Review by the circuit court shall be confined to the record, and to a determination of the questions of law presented; the merit system board's findings of fact shall be final and conclusive.
(Acts 1976, No. 708, p. 984, §12.)