Friday, December 13, 2013 10:27 AM
Published on: Thursday, April 18, 2013
By Holden Wilen
ROCKVILLE –At least one of the city employees who spoke to an outside investigator about claims of discrimination and racism says the city should make the investigative report available to the public.
According to Lloyd Hall, a sanitation operator for the city, when he signed his confidentiality agreement with Saul Ewing LLP - the outside firm which conducted the city’s $190,000 investigation into employee complaints of discrimination – the investigator for Ewing told him his name would not appear in the report presented to the city manager and city attorney.
Debra Daniel, the city attorney as well as members of the city council who have been briefed on the report – but haven’t actually seen it – say the report cannot be released publicly because it would be impossible to redact all the names from the report.
“Our names were only going to be revealed if the report was to go to court,” Hall said. “The only thing that was supposed to be in the report was our comments and (Saul Ewing) was supposed to just report the findings. They were not supposed to mention who said what.”
The Sentinel obtained a copy of the confidentiality agreement employees signed with Saul Ewing when choosing to participate in the investigation.
The report states: “Due to the sensitive nature of this process, the investigation is being conducted in a manner intended to protect the privacy of employees who raise workplace concerns or complaints. We will maintain the confidentiality of the investigation to the greatest extent possible and will disclose information only on a need-to-know basis.”
Hall said he is concerned because he was under the impression the city attorney and city manager would never see his name.
“They can hold stuff against you and put your job at risk,” Hall said. “It could lead to unfair treatment.”
Marylou Berg, spokesperson for the city, would not say if the names of the 44 employees who spoke to Saul Ewing appear in the report. While she has not seen the report herself, Berg said she was advised by Daniel that the report and any information contained in it will not be disclosed under the Maryland Public Information Act.
Councilmember Tom Moore last week told The Sentinel that after speaking with the city attorney’s office his understanding was if the Saul Ewing report were redacted there would be little information left. Based off of his conversations, Moore said he is assuming the names appear in the report.
“It would be hard to keep track of who was saying what if they did not include the names,” Moore said.
Representatives from Saul Ewing could not confirm or deny if the names appear in the report. When asked, company spokesperson Damien Enderle said, “We do not comment on ongoing or closed investigations.”
Steven VanGrack, a former Rockville mayor who last week said he thinks the Mayor and Council should review the report, said he thinks the names of the employees should have been protected from the city manager and city attorney. If the names were in the report he said there is no reason why the Mayor and Council should not look at it.
“I do not know if this all true, but if it is the Mayor and Council should see this report because he has been protected by an agreement and he would have a cause of action against Saul Ewing if his name was used in the report,” VanGrack said.
Hall said if his name appears in the report he would consider a lawsuit, and that he wants those responsible to be held accountable.
“I hope that someone has to answer if our names are mentioned,” Hall said. “The city or Saul Ewing has to answer. It violates the confidentiality agreement.”
Posted By: Tom Weagner. On: 4/20/2013
Title: COVER UP
The right hand and left and in the city don't know what they're doing.the true sounds like the names of the individuals who came forward are in the report. Really makes you wonder who exactly is seen this report and if the report and the names will be used to terminate additional employees, or make their work environment toxic. Ms. Mathews clearly is in well over her head since it would appear that no changes have been made in the city. Time to demand the firing of the new city manager and the city attorney. The city needs to come clean immediately.
Posted By: Not involved On: 4/19/2013
Title: Clean it up
Maybe we should have an investigation into the investigation?
Posted By: Resident On: 4/19/2013
Title: To Lloyd Hall
Thanks for your courage. I'm sure that all the employees would like this mystery report released.
It is time to ask the City to announce publicly if the names of employees who made complaints were used in the report. If the City doesn’t respond, it’s a pretty sure bet they were, and it’s a pretty sure bet you wouldn’t be able to find out.
Clue in this article: “Debra Daniel, the city attorney as well as members of the city council who have been briefed on the report – but haven’t actually seen it – say the report cannot be released publicly because it would be impossible to redact all the names from the report.”
REDACT ALL THE NAMES?? Employee names?