CLOVIS, N.M. (KRQE) - From the food and brawls, to a notorious killer's escape, he was hired to fix the problems for a New Mexico jail that's infamous for its problems but the new jail boss was fired last week and he's claims it was in retaliation, so he's suing.
County commissioners in a surprise four to one vote last week ousted Curry County Detention Center jail Administrator Gerry Billy.
Billy's attorney, Eric Dixon said Billy is the 12th administrator in 11 years and he's is not going quietly; a trait Dixon said has caused some disagreements.
"The commission thought he was doing a great job up until he started complaining publicly about how the facility was being managed," Dixon told KRQE News 13.
Billy said no notice or reason was given for his firing from the jail in Clovis. He was immediately escorted out by the Sheriff's Department. He claims the firing is in violation of his three-year contract.
"The only way he can be terminated is for cause, and they didn't give him any cause whatsoever," said Dixon.
The lawsuit states Billy's performance was deemed satisfactory in his six month review, and he was given a salary raise.
Billy believes the firing is payback for his complaints, one of which involves Billy objecting to being supervised by County Manager Lance Pyle instead of commissioners. The lawsuit states Billy's complaint was that Pyle has "absolutely no training in the running of a Detention Center and is otherwise unqualified, which would leave the Defendant county open to potential liability."
Also, Billy claims he was met with opposition when he objected to adopting a jail policy he says wasn't tailored to the Clovis facility. Billy said he complained orally and in writing about mold in the jail and that food was being kept next to cockroaches.
Another reason Billy believes he was fired is in retaliation for requesting an investigation on County Commissioner Robert Sandoval, who Billy said made false claims regarding a cover-up about an inmate fight back in June.
The inmate fight involved Luis Guerra attacking Jaime Perez, a key witness in a murder case against Guerra. Dixon said Billy still wants an investigation to clear his name of an alleged cover-up.
Dixon said a private investigator was hired to investigate the inmate fight, but the final report was not provided to Billy. Dixon has requested this report.
Billy, who came from Ohio where he served six terms as Sheriff there, is suing Curry County for punitive damages, and he wants to be paid the remaining two years of his $87,000 a year contract. Curry County officials did not return calls for comment.
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