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Former Rockville City Clerk settles with city for 13k package

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Published on: Thursday, February 16, 2012

By: Christa Puccio

ROCKVILLE - A former Rockville city clerk, who resigned in September and later accused the city racism and discrimination, has received a severance package from the city so far totaling nearly $13,000.

According to payment records provided by the City of Rockville, the former clerk, Glenda Evans, was paid $4,258.80 on Jan. 13, Jan. 27 and Feb. 10 for a total of $12,776.40.

Last September, Evans resigned because of what she first said was a lack of respect and appreciation for her work by her coworkers and superiors which caused her to lose her love for the job.

There were things put in her file that the City of Rockville did not make her aware of. “I’m not going to reveal what was in that file until October 19,” said Evans.  “I don’t want to disparage anybody, but I can tell you I want to go to work every day and I want my boss to have the upmost confidence in me and support me.  I want them to support my efforts and I want them to believe in me and I can tell you, if you don’t have that, what is the point?  There is no point.  You need the people you work with to believe in you and I wasn’t feeling it.”

Evans went on leave until her last day, Oct. 19, and then Brenda Bean, former Rockville deputy city clerk, was appointed on Sept. 26 as acting city clerk until the position is filled permanently.  The City of Rockville still has not hired a city clerk to fill the position permanently.

In November, after the Rockville mayor and council elections, Evans accused the City of Rockville of discriminating against her as a black female employee.

“The deputy clerk [Brenda Bean] started a rumor that I didn’t like white people,” said Evans.  “That really started it. Can you imagine that in a city like Rockville?”

The City of Rockville refused to comment on Evans’ allegations, but did provide a statement.  “Rockville is a diverse community and the City has a diverse workforce,” said Marylou Berg, communications manager for the City of Rockville.  “Rockville prohibits discrimination on the basis of race and sex or any other unlawful basis, and the City has long maintained a policy against discrimination in City employment. However, it would not be appropriate to comment on an individual employee, former employee or that employee’s situation.”

Wilma Bell, who originally wrote about Evans’ resignation on Facebook, which sparked attention to issue, said, “When I first heard about it, I was offended as an African American woman – I am doubly offended.  I feel like I was shocked when I first heard it and sort of used Facebook to express myself.  I just think the whole thing is unfortunate and you know, it just makes the city look so bad.  I think it’s going to make the city look closely at its policies and I think something needs to happen.  The city of Rockville has some work to do.”

Former councilmember Piotr Gajewski who was her supervisor at the time did comment, however.  “Well, she never turned to me or any of my colleagues on the council to say there was a problem,” said Gajewski. “The sequence of events as I’m aware of it is: she was hired, she did her job, if there were some issues she was dealing with, she was dealing with them unbeknownst to her supervisor, her annual review came up, an initial meeting was held to begin the process, and the day after that, she quit. We were surprised.”

Evans said she went to Human Resources Director Carlos Vargas with her concerns about Bean, but that his response was not helpful.

Evans says Bean’s assertion led Vargas to take the rest of the staff to dinner to discuss the allegation, something Evans didn’t find out about until after the fact.

“He never came to me to validate it.  Yet, when I come to him and complain about the way one of the employees is treating me as a black female, they go over above and beyond to discredit me.  When I complained about how employees were treating me, that stuff would end up in my personnel file.”

The Chief Human Resources Officer Carlos Vargas refused to comment.  Bean has been employed by the City of Rockville for more than 20 years, and has been acting as city clerk since Evan’s resignation.

Evans explained multiple problems with the procedures associated with HR and how her personnel file was handled.

The Personnel Policy and Procedure Manual also states that, “In order to enhance and clarify the actions of all the forms of discipline listed, those requiring a written memorandum should also be verbally explained to and discussed with the employee by the initiating supervisor whenever possible.  At all levels of discipline the supervisor should document and maintain notes of actions, discussions, etc.”  Evans said she was not made aware of what was placed in her file until she looked in her file herself.

“They didn’t want to get rid of me,” said Evans.  “They just wanted me to behave the way that they thought that I should.  They have a problem with diversity.”

A Rockville politician called for an investigation into Evans’ claims.  “I think it’s unfortunate that this affair ended up the way it did,” said Joe Jordan, civic activist and chairman of the RedGate Advisory Committee. He dropped out of running for Rockville City Council this past September.  “I worked with Glenda (Evans) and she was always respectful, responsive and conscious.  I think the City of Rockville owes the citizens of Rockville a full investigation and that investigation needs to be made public.  Those were serious allegations and it should be taken seriously.  I don’t know if they should wait until the city manager retires or go to an outside organization.”

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