Meridian Mayor Percy Bland said Tuesday that he has reprimanded Chief Administrative Officer Richie McAlister over language in an audio recording posted online last week.
“I have reprimanded Mr. McAlister for using the language spoken during a private conversation with an individual whom he considered a friend. Mr. McAlister has apologized to me and accepts full responsibility for the language used. I am unable to comment on any other topic due to pending litigation,” the mayor said in a statement.
Bland would not provide further details about the reprimand, saying it was a personnel matter.
McAlister provided the following statement Tuesday:
“I apologize and fully accept the consequences for the language heard in a private conversation with an individual whom I considered a close personal friend that I could vent my frustration to after recently going through the 4th attempt in 11 months by three members of the Meridian City Council to have me terminated," the statement said. "I would never have used that same language that Mr. Henderson has used in the past to communicate had I known Mr. Henderson was recording me under false pretenses to exploit that trust for a personal attack.”
McAlister confirmed he was referring to Stacy Henderson, the business manager and financial secretary for the Local 917 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.
Efforts to contact Henderson were unsuccessful Tuesday.
The mayor's action comes after an attempt last week by Ward 5 City Councilman Weston Lindemann to remove McAlister's salary, based on concerns about the recording.
Fellow council members did not second Lindemann's motion.
Lindemann said later that the recording appeared to be of McAlister threatening violence against Lindemann and discussing photos related to the death of Christian Andreacchio.
Meridian Police ruled the 21-year-old's 2014 death a suicide, but his mother has said the family has reason to believe he was killed.
Andreacchio's parents filed a civil lawsuit against McAlister last week, accusing him of sharing their son's autopsy photos.
According to the parents' suit, McAlister invited people to visit his office to view the autopsy photos who “were then subjected to McAllister’s (sic) analysis of the photos that led him to conclude that Christian Andreacchio took his own life.”
McAlister said Tuesday that he had no comment on the lawsuit.
Lindemann said that following discussions in executive session Tuesday, it appeared Bland was prepared to take serious action regarding McAlister.
“If the mayor's not going to deal with the way the CAO has been behaving in a more serious way, the council is going to move forward with some sort of action to either remove the CAO position entirely or to remove the funding from the current individual in that position,” Lindemann said in response to the mayor's statement.