MADISONVILLE (WATE) – Three former deputies with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office have filed a lawsuit against the current and former sheriff claiming they violated their constitutional right to support, or not support a candidate.
Eddie Manning, Doug Brannon and Steve Miller claim their positions were terminated because they supported former Sheriff Bill Bivens during his reelection campaign in 2014 and/or to create vacancies for former Sheriff Randy White’s political supporters.
The lawsuit has been filed against current sheriff, Tommy Jones and former sheriff Randy White under the Tennessee Public Protection Act.
More: Read the lawsuit
Biven lost to White in August of 2014, but took White to court claiming he didn’t have the three years experience required to run.
The court sided with Bivens and unanimously voted for Chief Deputy Tommy Jones to take office in December of 2014. Jones is currently serving as Sheriff.
Previous story: Jones appointed Sheriff of Monroe County
Manning and Brannon participated in a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation investigation into allegations of vote-buying during the election. They claim their position was terminated because they participated in the investigation.
Miller was terminated in January of 2015. Manning and Brannon were terminated in October of 2014.
All three former deputies filed a lawsuit asking to be reinstated to their former positions, back pay, front pay, compensatory and punitive damages, attorney fees and litigation costs.