Panel votes to uphold firing of official


September 22, 2005|By Jennifer Skalka

The Maryland Public Service Commission has voted to uphold the firing of a former public information officer.

Robert M. Higginbotham II, who was fired in April 2004, was one of five fired PSC employees who have argued that their terminations were politically motivated.

He challenged his termination on the grounds that the original firing was sanctioned by Chairman Kenneth Schisler alone.

In a similar case, the Court of Appeals ruled recently that the chairman could not move unilaterally to fire an employee.

This week, however, the full commission voted to uphold the firing, according to Susan Miller, general counsel for the panel.

Higginbotham said yesterday that if the original firing was not valid, he is due back pay. "If a person doesn't have the authority to fire you when they issued a letter to fire you, that means you're still employed," he said.

Miller disagreed. "It's the commission's opinion that he is not owed any back pay," she said.

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