Former Chatham Area Transit CEO files lawsuit against CAT

Updated: Feb. 10, 2021 at 10:40 PM EST
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CHATHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - Former Chatham Area Transit CEO Bacarra Mauldin has filed a lawsuit against CAT after she was fired just weeks ago. Her firing came as a surprise to some board members and to many in the county.

The lawsuit filed Tuesday alleges the board firing former CEO Bacarra Mauldin was unlawful and in retaliation after she reached out to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) as a whistleblower. The lawsuit says Mauldin reached out to the FTA because of CAT’s vendor contract irregularities.

In August of last year, CAT was looking to hire a firm for legal services. A staff committee gave the recommendation to the board that one firm would be awarded a contract at a board meeting on November 17. However, the board chose another firm instead and the recommended firm issued a protest against the board action the following day. Mauldin also learned the board had not used evaluation score sheets when reviewing their choice of firm, violating federal regulations.

As a result, Mauldin contacted the FTA and a meeting was held with management and the board in December to discuss the situation, rules and regulations. In January, Mauldin sent the board a notice regarding vendor protest. This notice can be found in the official complaint below.

She also notes the agency had not been submitting legal fees for services on federally funded projects to the FTA. Mauldin was fired 13 days later.

The WTOC Investigates Team learned just last week the state Attorney General’s Office is reviewing a complaint against CAT board member Tabitha Odell who is also named in Mauldin’s lawsuit. It says Odell filled a term for a board member who had not retired or resigned from the board. It also says Odell made false and derogatory statements about Mauldin as well as advocated and seconded the motion to terminate her.

The lawsuit determines that the vote to terminate Mauldin is technically illegal. We’ll continue to follow this story and bring you the very latest developments as we learn new information.

Mauldin is seeking relief by immediate reinstatement to her position with full back pay and benefits. She’s also asking the court to prevent CAT from replacing her until her termination is determined lawful.

After voting to terminate Mauldin on January 26th, the board appointed an interim CEO on January 29th.

WTOC reached out to Chatham Area Transit for comment and they told us “At this time, CAT cannot comment on pending litigation.”

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