Ex-city workers file racial discrimination complaints BALTIMORE CITY

February 05, 1993|By Joan Jacobson | Joan Jacobson,Staff Writer

Two former Baltimore employees have filed federal discrimination complaints charging Comptroller Jacqueline F. McLean with racial discrimination.

In complaints filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Erwin A. Burtnick, former assistant comptroller, and Ronald Brown, former director of the municipal telephone exchange, allege they lost their jobs because they are white.

Mr. Burtnick's complaint, filed last month with the EEOC, also charges sex, age and religious discrimination. Mr. Burtnick, who was 48 when he lost his job last June, is Jewish.

Both men say Mrs. McLean, who is black, abolished their jobs from the city budget, then gave the positions new titles and hired black workers to do the same jobs.

Mr. Burtnick, who began working for the city in 1966, said, "I worked beyond normal hours with no compensation and felt I had done an outstanding job in light of my past experience with the city."

Mr. Brown, who filed his complaint on Wednesday, worked for the city for 17 years until his termination last June. He said "there was no dissatisfaction with my work and there appears to be no monetary savings or any other logical reason for [Mrs. McLean's] actions."

Mrs. McLean denies that she replaced Mr. Burtnick with someone else who does the same work.

"The job [Mr. Burtnick] had was specifically set up because [former comptroller] Hyman Pressman wasn't able to work," she said. "Mr. Burtnick was essentially the comptroller."

Mr. Pressman was comptroller for 28 years.

Bowing to chronic illness, Mr. Pressman did not seek re-election in 1991, the year Mrs. McLean was elected to the post.

Mr. Burtnick took issue with Mrs. McLean's assertion that he functioned as the comptroller after Mr. Pressman became ill and was unable to perform his duties.

Richard A. Lidinsky, who was then deputy comptroller, performed the comptroller's tasks after Mr. Pressman became sick, Mr. Burtnick said.

Mr. Lidinsky retired when Mrs. McLean took office.

Mrs. McLean said she was unaware of Mr. Brown's discrimination complaint and could not comment on it.

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