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Former Mayor's Secretary Sues City, Mayor For Wrongful Termination

Sally Deitrick, a secretary in the mayor's office until her termination earlier this year, has filed a lawsuit against the city and Mayor Susan Drucker.

 

A former secretary in the mayor's office has filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against the city of Solon and Mayor Susan Drucker.

And the city is defending itself by hiring an outside national law firm to handle the case.

Sally Deitrick, who worked in the mayor's office, was fired on May 20 for poor job performance, according to her termination letter. She filed a wrongful termination lawsuit Oct. 24 seeking $250,000 in damages, according to court records.

Deitrick had worked for the previous mayor Kevin Patton. She was hired by Patton on Dec. 1, 1997. In her letter, Drucker says that the position of mayor's secretary is an "at will" position that serves at the pleasure of the mayor.

At the end of her employment with the city, Deitrick was earning a base salary of $66,391.73 and longevity pay of $1,991.75, said Human Resources Director Tom Cornhoff.

The lawsuit came to light during a quick special meeting Tuesday, when Solon City Council approved a contract to hire the law firm of Thompson Hine to serve as special legal counsel to handle the case. It's unclear right now why the city decided to hire an outside law firm instead of using the city law director. It's also not know how much the city will pay for Thompson Hine's services.

According to the ordinance approved by council, Drucker told city council that she would be terminating Deitrick in May and provided council members with a draft of the termination letter she planned to give to Deitrick. (Read the termination letter here.)

City council members reviewed the draft and "was in full agreement with the letter and the upcoming termination," the ordinance reads.

After Tuesday's meeting, Drucker said the only comment she would make is that she stands "one hundred percent" behind the letter she sent to Deitrick and that city council supports it as well.

The letter lists a litany of Drucker's complaints against Deitrick's job performance.

"It is important that I as the Mayor work with executive staff with whom I feel comfortable and whom I trust," the letter reads.

Deitrick has not yet returned a phone message from Solon Patch.

The ordinance says that the city intends to stand behind Drucker and "totally indemnify" her for any and all damages related to the case.

We will update this story as soon as we have more information.

Harry December 08, 2011 at 04:02 PM
It is common knowledge that Drucker retained Dietick as her administrative assistant as part of a pre-election deal she made with former Mayor Kevin Patton for his endorsement and election support. That was one of Patton's key requirements in turn for his support. This lawsuit could get ugly as well as revealing.
tomcody December 08, 2011 at 04:17 PM
..i believe revealing will be the key to the whole thing... "me smells something fishy"..
John December 08, 2011 at 04:58 PM
Pre-election "deals" have little bearing on this lawsuit or the fate of an "at-will" employee. The idea that a public employee once hired should be guaranteed employment for life despite their poor performance is ludicrous and unsustainable. If any justice exists in our corrupt county, this lawsuit should be quickly dismissed with costs going to the plaintiff. Unfortunately justice is rare here.
Harry December 08, 2011 at 10:10 PM
IF Drucker had dismissed Dietrick when she took office then there would have been no lawsuit. She couldn't do that because of the pre-election deal she made with Patton. So she let Deitrick twist for over a year and this led to the current lawsuit. There will be an out-of-court settlement and Dietrick will walk away with some extra cash.
John December 09, 2011 at 05:55 AM
Campaign promises are broken all the time. The lawsuit would have occurred no matter when she was fired. But YES the city will have to buy her out and pay the lawyers too.

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