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BEFORE THE STATE PERSONNEL BOARD IN THE MATTER OF HOWARD “GENE” SISSON, ) Appellant, ) v ; Case No. 15-21-JJW OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY } GENERAL, ) Appellee. } RECOMMENDED ORDER TO THE STATE PERSONNEL BOARD The employment termination appeal of Howard “Gene” Sisson (hereinafter “Sisson”) from his dismissal by the Office of the Attorney General (hereinafter “AGO”) occasions this Recommended Order. The AGO charges that Sisson violated certain State Personnel Board Rules and AGO Policies and Procedures Manual, Tab IV, Employment Policies and Issues. BACKGROUND Sisson had worked for the AGO for approximately eight (8) years. Sisson began his employment in October 2007, as a Special Agent, during the term of former Attorney General Troy King (“King”). Sisson was later appointed by King to the exempt position of Chief Investigator effective March 16, 2009. Sisson reverted to his merit position of Special Agent on January 17, 2011, upon the election of Luther Strange (“Attorney General”). Sisson had previously been a Montgomery Police Officer retiring after approximately twenty years of service. Sisson and former Deputy Attorney General Henry Theodore “Sonny” Reagan (“Reagan”) were principals in the efforts of the AGO to investigate “illegal” gambling activities in Alabama. New personnel came into the AGO in the Attorney General’s Administration including Matt Hart (“Hart”) and new investigators, who had previously been involved in a federal investigation of the activities of King. The investigation of King ended without any charges against King. Hart, at some point, was assigned to assist the Lee County Special Grand Jury investigating matters of possible corruption. The Attorney General recused himself and appointed an Acting Attorney General for the Lee County Special Grand Jury. The Lee County Special Grand Jury investigation was placed under the direction of Acting Attorney General Van Davis (“Davis”). Certain disagreements arose between Hart and Reagan over office space assignments and other issues in the AGO. There developed some lack of collegiality among some of the AGO staff including Hart, Reagan, and Sisson. Reagan and Sisson felt Hart was using his position and authority to create a hostile work environment for them in the AGO, Both Reagan and Sisson were subpoenaed to testify before the Lee County Special Grand Jury. Both felt the subpoenas were issued to intimidate them in connection with the interoffice disagreements they had with Hart. Sisson believed. Hart was misusing his authority and that of the Lee County Special Grand Jury. In this environment, Reagan, on the advice of his counsel, Bill Baxley (“Baxley”), filed a complaint against Hart in the AGO with Charla Doucet (“Doucet”), Chief of Administrative Services. Reagan asked that Doucet just put his complaint in a file. The next day, Hart’s personnel file at the AGO, along with Reagan’s complaint, were subpoenaed by Baxley, who represented Felix Barry Moore (“Moore”), a State Representative, who had been indicted by the Lee County Special Grand Jury on April 23, 2014. Reagan and Moore were both represented at that time by Baxley. The existence of this joint representation of a member of the AGO staff and an indicted criminal defendant was of some concern to Davis, Hart, and others within the AGO. On August 1, 2014, Sisson assisted Reagan in “secretly” taping a telephone conversation with Davis relating to the work of the Lee County Special Grand Jury. This secret taping of the conversation with Davis violated AGO policy, which “expressly prohibits the taping of conversations with co-workers and supervisors without their knowledge.” Sisson claims he assisted Reagan at the direction of his supervisor, Tim Fuhrman (“Fuhrman”). Fuhrman testified he asked Sisson to assist Reagan, but denies he was aware that such taping would be secretly done without