by: Dave Huddleston Updated:FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. —
Eleven Forsyth County sheriff’s deputies whose positions were eliminated last week have hired a Cobb County attorney to get their jobs back.
Attorney Lance Lorusso said there are a number of things that were wrong about Forsyth County Sheriff Duane Piper’s decision, including age discrimination and failure to give proper notification. Lorusso said their positions were also eliminated as payback for not supporting Piper in last year’s election.
“Several of the individuals that were terminated were outwardly supportive of other candidates or outwardly critical of this candidate," Lorusso told Channel 2’s Dave Huddleston.
Channel 2 Action News has learned Lorusso met with 11 of the deputies the day after the officers were dismissed. Lorusso said they are appealing their dismissal.
“You have 11 people who were dismissed and all of them except for two are over the age of 40. Two of them will turn 40 within 30 days," Lorusso said.
That’s significant because the same day the 11 deputies were eliminated Piper hired 11 entry-level officers and one of them is his son.
“My understanding is his son was hired,” Lorusso said.
Piper said there is no validity to Lorusso’s claims. Piper said the 11 positions were eliminated to streamline his department from this to this. He said it will also put more officers on the street and saves citizens about a million tax dollars.
“Clearly the 11 who were terminated make a whole lot more money than an entry-level position, because they have 20 to 25 years of experience. Matter of fact, one gentleman was terminated 90 days of his retirement date. So that raises a question why were these people were removed,” Lorusso said.
Lorusso sent Piper a letter demanding the 11 be put back on the force. Piper has seven days to respond. If he doesn't respond, Lorusso said he'll take Piper to court.