Anamosa administrator says firing arrested employee without cause 'better option'

ANAMOSA, Iowa (KCRG) -- New records obtained by the I9 investigative team show Anamosa had a reason for firing its City Clerk but officially it says it fired her without cause. The move could leave taxpayers on the hook for her benefits and unemployment costs.

Tamara Coons, 56, of Anamosa (Courtesy: Linn County Jail)

The city fired clerk Tammy Coons days after she was arrested on OWI charges following a crash in June. It was Coons' second OWI arrest.

Anamosa's City Administrator Jacob Sheridan has told I9 Coons was fired without cause but in a letter he sent to the city council it says they opted to fire her that way because it was "the better option".

In the letter, Sheridan says he spoke with Coons after her arrest and asked her to explain what happened. Sheridan said he also asked Coons to resign but she refused. Sheridan then said because of that decision he fired Coons. Sheridan later clarified that because the city fired her without cause they should not talk about her OWI or her job performance.

Sheridan clarified the impacts of his decision in another letter saying, "This makes her eligible for payout of her vacation and a portion of her sick leave, as well as, unemployment. Still, it was the better option."

City council minutes show the council confirmed Coons' termination unanimously on June 10th.

I9 reached out to every member of the city council and Sheridan to explain why it was a "better option" in their view to fire Coons' without cause. The council did not respond and Sheridan declined to comment.