Hired And Fired, Employee Sues

Woman To Keep Rec And Parks Assistantjob While Judge Weighs Lawsuit

March 08, 1991|By Paul Shread | Paul Shread,Staff writer

Last November, Pamela Sue Baker left her job of 13 years with Annapolis Boat Shows for a job in the Annapolis Recreation and Parks Department.

Last month, she was told she would have to leave the job so someone who was already a city employee could have it.

Baker sued. And on Wednesday, Circuit Judge Eugene Lerner ruled Baker can keep her job until he decides the merits of her case. A hearing is scheduled April 5.

City Attorney Jonathan Hodgson declined to comment on the case. Baker's attorney, former city attorney Frederick Sussman, said the case was simple.

"The essence of the case ismy client got screwed," Sussman said. "She left a $22,000-a-year job, and then they said 'Bye.' "

A brief Sussman filed in Circuit Court Wednesday outlines the details of the case. The city has 10 days to file a response.

Baker applied for the job of recreation assistant on Sept. 10. Recreation and Parks Director Richard Callahan hired her Oct. 23, and after giving Annapolis Boat Shows two weeks' notice,she started work Nov. 7.

Baker checked with Callahan at the time to make sure he had authority to hire her, the brief says.

A week later, a city employee filed an appeal with the city's civil service board, saying the job should have been given to someone already employed by the city. The employee who appealed had applied for the job, Sussman's brief says.

On Feb. 19, the civil service board ruled that a civil service employee should be hired in place of Baker. Mayor Alfred A. Hopkins, Personnel Director Thomas Engelke and Callahan decided to dismiss Baker, effective March 8, the brief states.

As a probationary employee for the first year of her employment, Baker was told she had no appeal rights. The brief says Baker has been praised for her performance in the job, and that Callahan expressed regret at losing her.

In the brief, Sussman argues that department directorshave authority to hire employees, and the civil service board had nojurisdiction to get involved in the case.

Baker wants to keep herjob, and also has asked the court to make the city pay her court costs and legal fees.

The case is the first time Sussman and Hodgson have faced each other in court. Hodgson replaced Sussman as city attorney in 1985. Lerner, the judge in the case, also served as city attorney, under former Mayor Roger "Pip" Moyer.

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