Former state Alcohol Law Enforcement Director John Ledford is contest his firing, contending it was politically motivated and unlawful, even though it was done amid the typical replacement of agency officials whenever there is a change in administrations.
Ledford, a longtime Democratic-connected figure, stepped down from his position as director in advance of the new Republican administration earlier this year. He reassigned himself to the position of an agent stationed in Asheville, where he is from.
New Department of Public Safety Commissioner of Law Enforcement Frank Perry dismissed him, saying Ledford had no authority to take that position, nor to give himself a salary far in excess of what the job pays – nearly $66,000. The department contends Ledford was not a career state employee, and so cannot challenge his dismissal.
Ledford, in a filing with the state Office of Administrative Hearings, contends he was a career employee because he had the job for the preceding two years, and had no disciplinary problems.
“Clearly, my termination and the campaign surrounding same was the product of my known Democratic affiliation, and an illegal effort by the current Republican administration to discriminate against me on the basis thereof,” Ledford wrote in his petition for a hearing.
A hearing has been scheduled for Sept. 9 and 10 in Raleigh. Ledford is being represented by attorney Larry Leake, a former chairman of the state Board of Elections.