Taylor workers say opinions, lawn signs got them fired - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Taylor workers say opinions, lawn signs and politics got them fired

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SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (myFOXDetroit.com) -

Kim Gilliam Barbee has been the special events coordinator at Taylor Meadows golf course for 16 years. That is, until she got fired on Tuesday.

"I actually felt like I was kicked in the stomach," she tells Fox 2's Andrea Isom.  "I was shocked that they actually did it four days prior to my mother's memorial golf outing."
Barbee's mother passed away from fallopian tube cancer last year.

Taylor mayor Jeff Lamarand says the firing wasn't personal; the course's numbers are just down. "The golf course has been operating a deficit plan. They have to stay within their numbers. Revenue numbers are down, event schedules are down."

But Barbee believes the firing was personal. "I honestly believe that it was politically motivated. I'm a supporter of Rick Sollars, which, obviously is not my boss, Jeff Lamarand is." Barbee has a sign in her front lawn supporting Sollars' run for the next Taylor mayor.

But Lamarand denies the claim. "I don't know where the individual lives, and I don't go driving around wondering whether or not, what sign they have in their yard."

Barbee explains, "I believe that Jeff doesn't go up and down the streets looking for signs, but I guarantee you he has other people that do." And Kim is pretty convinced it was councilwoman Cheryl Burke who went back and spilled the beans. "I actually was stopped by the head of council, Cheryl Burke, and questioned me about the sign I have in my front yard," Barbee says.

Fox 2 talked to the councilwoman, and she said that is not true, and she would never do anything like that. However Barbee does not think that it's a coincidence that a few days after their talk, she was fired. And there's someone else who believes he knows exactly what Barbee's talking about.

"Oh, I wasn't surprised at all. She's just one in a list of many," Bob Tompos tells Fox 2. Tompos, the former Taylor fire chief says that he himself is on that list. Bob's been given the boot before, too.

"The real reason is because I spoke up, and I told them exactly what was wrong with the public safety system in this city," Tompos says.
The mayor believes Tompos is speaking out about all this now for personal reasons.

"I think it has to do with him running for a city council seat, running for office at this point in time," Lamarand argues.

"I will be completely honest with you. If you bring our paramedics back, you bring our ems system back to the way it was, you open these fire stations? I'll withdraw from the city council race, if he seems to think that everything I'm doing is related to politics. Because I'll tell you, I had no political aspirations. The only aspiration I had was to be the fire chief of this city, and provide the best public safety that we could for the citizens. And that was pushed out of my grasp," Tompos says back.

Tompos and Barbee feel like their kinship was formed out of circumstance. They say, speaking their mind and a political sign got them canned.

Barbee says, "I'm sorry that you let me go Jeff. I loved you as Jeff the teacher, the golfer that would bring your events to Taylor Meadows. I don't respect you as mayor at all."

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