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The city stopped dancing around how to handle Municipal Judge Phyllis Lister Brown's employment and sent her a clear message on Friday: It's over. The city stopped paying her and denied her access to her computer and her office, effectively ending her employment because she filed her candidacy for the 162nd District Court judgeship.
"We respect the actions of the courts ... We continue to believe that the city's action is unauthorized," said Ray Guy, Brown's attorney.
In January, City Council agreed with City Attorney Tom Perkins, voting that city charter does indeed dictate that a municipal judge cannot remain in office while running for district judge. Brown had filed a suit against the city that said the state, not the city, governs her employment, and that to fire her would be a misinterpretation of charter. That turned into an ongoing legal tug-of-war, the city pulling Brown farther towards the muddy ditch with another swift yank with Friday's firing.
"We think it was not proper for her to be removed, so we're going to continue to trial if we're allowed to do that. In the mean time, she's not a sitting judge," Guy said. She's running for a new position while still gunning for her old one.