ROCKVILLE – In recent documents filed by attorney Terry Morris on behalf of former Rockville Chief of Inspection Courtney Morgan, articles printed by the Sentinel are cited as evidence.
Christa Pucci’s article “Two Former Rockville Employees Level Complaints,” published on March 29, 2012 is one of the articles attributed in the documents. This is just one of a series of stories in a multi-year investigation conducted by Sentinel staff about personnel issues in the city. Sentinel reporting led the city to hire lawyers from Saul Ewing to conduct an internal investigation report, as noted in Morris’ documents.
“The City of Rockville began having significant issues by and between management level employees and lower level staff going back to a period of time not later than early 2011. Since then, the Montgomery County Sentinel, a weekly online and print newspaper, began running stories on a weekly basis regarding the trials and tribulations of City of Rockville employees,” Morris wrote. “As a result of such reporting, it became fairly common knowledge among the citizens of Rockville that their Town Hall was the source of considerable management-employee issues which inflamed significant negative reader response by way of online commentary published in the Sentinel.”
Morgan was hired as Chief of Inspection in February 2012 and was fired six months later. In court documents, the city said Morgan was fired because of job performance problems. Morgan claims he did not receive a three month review, a review he said was only given to white employees. Morgan also claims white employees with similar job titles, education, and credentials were paid more. The city denies these claims.
“Plaintiff (Morgan) has no knowledge as to how frequently the City was actually performing three-month evaluations of new hires,” said Kevin Karpinski, attorney for City of Rockville. “Plaintiff believes the purpose behind the three-month evaluation would have been to permit improvement in deficient performance areas but acknowledged that in his situation, he was already meeting with his supervisor every week.”
Morris is still calling for the city to release the full Saul Ewing report. The city released part of the findings in a 2012 press release but in spite of a court order and numerous MPIA requests filed by media outlets, including The Sentinel, the city refuses to release the entire report citing confidentiality concerns.