Ex-city employee sues over job Lawsuit filed in effort to get job back.

May 30, 1991|By Michael A. Fletcher | Michael A. Fletcher,Evening Sun Staff

The former chief of media technical services for the Mayor's Office of Cable and Communications is suing the city in an attempt to enforce a Civil Service Commission ruling ordering him returned to his $48,800-a-year job.

The commission in April ordered that William Dionne should be returned to his job, from which he had been fired last October. The commission also ordered the city to pay Dionne his back pay and benefits. But the city has yet to comply on either count.

In his suit, Dionne charges that the city has not restored his job; has failed to give him his back pay, which now totals more than $30,000,and has failed to give Dionne his health insurance and other benefits.

"In short, defendants have wholly ignored the ruling of the Civil Service Commission," the suit contends.

Kathleen M. Cahill, Dionne's attorney, said civil service rules don't specify how quickly the city must comply with an order. But she said it was extremely unusual for the city not to respond immediately to a commission mandate.

"His back wages continue to accrue, and they haven't put him back to work," Cahill said.

At the time of Dionne's firing, city officials accused him of having been at home when he should have been at work.

But the Civil Service Commission said Dionne should be returned to his job after a hearing officer concluded that officials bungled the investigation that prompted Dionne's firing.

Dionne was fired after city auditors took the extraordinary step of following him for three days. The surveillance of Dionne, whose job involved checking on cable television installation and service complaints around the city, was requested by Joyce Jefferson Daniels, director of the cable television office, according to a report on the case.

Several days after the auditors completed their surveillance, Daniels summoned Dionne to a brief meeting and fired him. She did not outline the charges against Dionne or offer him an opportunity to rebut them, the hearing officer's report says.

"The most striking aspect of this case is the total absence of any semblance of due process in the director's decision-making leading to the appellant's termination," wrote hearing officer Ronald A. Leahy.

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