The Alabama Court of Civil Appeals reversed a Houston County Circuit judge's ruling to uphold the firing of Stephanie Wingfield by the City of Dothan on Friday over her alleged role in a scheme to falsify paperwork in a federal meals program administered by the City of Dothan during the pandemic.

Houston County Circuit Judge Henry "Butch" Binford upheld the termination of Wingfield in April. According to an order filed by Binford, the City of Dothan Personnel Board's termination of Wingfield, a recreation program coordinator, was "supported by substantial evidence" and that Wingfield "was properly afforded due process throughout the termination proceedings."

However, the Court of Civil Appeals reversed that decision after Wingfield appealed it on Friday and sent the case back to Houston County Circuit Court.

"Because the board's order is founded only on hearsay evidence, there is insufficient legal evidence to support the board's decision, and it cannot be sustained," members of the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals wrote in their ruling. "It appears from the record that the testimony that supported the city's termination of Wingfield's employment -- that she had knowingly used incorrect information in the completion of forms required for the city to be reimbursed for meals and snacks purchased through the program, that she had provided the employees under her supervision with incorrect information, and that she had failed to provide them with the information and documents they needed to do their jobs properly -- was based solely on information that Marcus and Hall had learned from others."

Ramona Marcus is Dothan's finance director. Alison Hall is Dothan's director of leisure services.

Attorneys for the City of Dothan and Wingfield didn't return requests for comment on Friday.

Wingfield filed an appeal of her termination in Houston County Circuit Court in September 2022 against both the City of Dothan and the Dothan Personnel Board. Members of the Dothan Personnel Board upheld the City's termination of Wingfield in August. 

The City alleged Wingfield "ordered subordinates to falsify paperwork" so Dothan could receive federal funding for the program during the COVID pandemic.

The Dothan feeding program contract eventually went to a restaurant called Breakfast at Tammie's.

Over two years, the City of Dothan paid Breakfast at Tammie's $2.7 million for meals and snacks, according to documents obtained by WTVY

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