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Former Clerk reserves right to file on Rockville

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Published on: Thursday, December 01, 2011

By Christa Puccio

ROCKVILLE -- A former Rockville City Clerk plans to preserve her right to sue the City of Rockville following accusations of discrimination and racism she leveled against the city two weeks ago.

“I will preserve my right to sue because even though it’s not my priority right now, it’s more important for me to get a job, I may want to in the future,” said Glenda Evans, former city clerk of Rockville.  “That was the advice of my attorney and I think that’s what I will do.”

The problem surfaced two weeks ago when  Evans, accused the city of discriminating against her because she is black. She also said city employees stuffed her personnel file with spurious accusations.  “The deputy clerk started a rumor that I didn’t like white people,” Evans told The Sentinel. “That really started it. Can you imagine that in a city like Rockville?”

Last week, a Rockville politician called for an investigation into claims Evans’ claims.  

“I think the City of Rockville owes the citizens of Rockville a full investigation and that investigation needs to be made public,” said Joe Jordan, civic activist and chairman of the RedGate Advisory Committee. He dropped out of running for Rockville City Council this past September.  “Those were serious allegations and it should be taken seriously.”

Evans said following her allegations, she recently sent an e-mail to the Rockville city attorney, but she wouldn’t say what was in the e-mail.

 “They have been advised not to speak to me and I’ve been advised not to speak to them,” said Evans.

Representatives from the city said complaints are handled according to standard city procedure.  “Complaints about City employees are handled based on the nature of the complaint,” said Marylou Berg, communications manager for Rockville’s City Manager’s Office.  “The Personnel Policies and Procedures Manual also provides for means to raise certain types of complaints, as does the City Code.  In addition, complaints can be brought to an employee’s supervisor and/or the Human Resources Director.  The response to the complaint will depend on the nature and severity of the complaint. Also, certain City employees, who are members of a union, are covered by a negotiated agreement which provides a grievance mechanism that may be utilized in appropriate circumstances.”

According to the City of Rockville’s written policies and procedures found online, “The Personnel Department will maintain records on every regular or contract benefit-eligible employee. Material in the file will include, but not be limited to, employment applications; salary history records; performance appraisals; copies of all personnel status changes (promotions, transfers, salary increments, etc.); benefit elections; applications; commendations; disciplinary actions; awards; certificates of training; current employee address; phone number; etc.”

There are a couple levels of checks and balances on the human resources department.  “The Human Resources Director reports to the City Manager, who is not a part of the Human Resources Department,” said Berg.  “The City Manager reports to the Mayor and Council.  Matters relating to human resources at the City are also governed by numerous City Ordinances, state laws, and federal laws.”

The policies and procedures on employee records found online do not state how the City Manager is supposed to oversee the Human Resources Department in terms of employee records.  “I supervise and have oversight on the Human Resources Director,” said Scott Ullery, the Rockville city manager who is retiring this Friday, Dec. 2.  “I am familiar with our policies and practices.  I look into employee records that I directly supervise regularly for employee evaluations.  On occasion, if there is an appeal of a disciplinary measure, then there’s the occasion to read [the employee’s personnel record].  I have the responsibility to direct that all employees follow policies and the law.”

The Mayor and Council appoint and supervise the city manager, city clerk and city attorney, which in turn is supervising the human resources department.  “Naturally, we’ve reviewed all three of those positions,” said Mayor Phyllis Marcuccio.  “I can’t say that I personally have had a problem with the human resources department.  They’ve been responsive when I have requested things.  I am aware that there are issues, but I’m not at liberty to discuss them.  Personnel is private and you can’t describe that to the public.”

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