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READ: Sally Deitrick's Termination Letter

Read a copy of the letter Mayor Susan Drucker sent to Sally Deitrick to terminate her job as mayor's secretary.

Sally Deitrick was fired as mayor's secretary in May, but has since filed a wrongful termination lawsuit seeking $250,000 in damages.

The crux of the city's defense -- which will be handled by law firm Thompson Hine -- is in the two-page letter dated May 4 that Mayor Susan Drucker sent to Deitrick informing her that she was being fired.

In that letter, Drucker outlines a her "continued dissatisfaction" with Deitrick's job performance, who had worked for Solon's previous mayor, Kevin Patton.

The letter provides a long list of Drucker's complaints about Deitrick, from routine issues such as not completing daily tasks and improperly keeping the office finances to more serious matters including inappropriately deleting computer files and a "lack of loyalty" about internal office matters, including "inappropriate sharing of information with the press and your co-workers."

For instance, the letter describes a time in March when Deitrick was missing work for medical leave -- without providing Drucker any information on her condition or when she would be back.

But Drucker notes that during this time she received a phone call at the mayor's office confirming Deitrick's appointment for a cooking class.

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

Drucker wrote that she and Deitrick met after Drucker was elected mayor in late 2009 to discuss Deitrick's future in the mayor's office. They agreed that Deitrick would remain in her job through 2010 to see how it went.

Drucker also told Deitrick that if she decided to hire a new secretary she would try to find her a job elsewhere on the city payroll.

According to the letter, Drucker twice offered Deitrick jobs in the Police Department. One offer was rejected and the other, according to Drucker, was ignored.

The letter says Deitrick was fired May 20. A draft of the letter was reviewed by the Solon City Council before it was delivered. City council saw no problems with it.

John December 08, 2011 at 02:45 PM
As an at-will employee with documented job performance problems there should not be any cause for action. But that didn't stop this person from coughing up the $90 filing fee and now the city will be paying lawyers and no doubt her at least tens of thousands of dollars. Meanwhile regular citizens in far worse shape foot the bill for this abuse in the public sector.
Harry December 08, 2011 at 03:41 PM
Who says there is proper documentation in the employee's file? This employee only worked for the new mayor for a little over a year. It is almost certain that all her prior job performance reviews from the former mayor were exemplary. This is going to be an interesting case and especially to see how they settle it. The wouldn't have hired a high powered law firm if they were not worried. There also might be an age discrimination issue here.
John December 08, 2011 at 04:46 PM
Actually the Mayor's letter said the issue is documented, with the HR directors involvement, I'd have to think that Sally's file has basic documentation. Granted, I'd guess that Patton gave her glowing reviews, but that shouldn't matter. Not being protected by civil service or contract, the at-will employee really has no case. This is just lawyers fighting with each other on the public dime.
John December 08, 2011 at 04:53 PM
The reason the city hired a big guns lawyer is because Sally did. I think that her filing a suit has nothing to do with the possible merits of the case. The public sector has a tremendous feeling of entitlement that is far out of line with the private sector. The defeat of issue 2 demonstrates that the private sector still falls for the public sector's "woes me" propaganda and apparently isn't feeling the pinch of unfairness yet. The idea that a poor performer should be offered several other jobs rather than be terminated is something not found in the "rest of the real world" who is fast becoming unable to support this wasteful "luxury":
tomcody December 08, 2011 at 06:08 PM
.the world hath no fury than the woman scorned...!!..
Harry December 08, 2011 at 10:13 PM
This has nothing to do with any public vs. private employment philosophy. This is the result of a political deal gone bad. If you read the lawsuit you will see that Dietrick does have some standing. She took too many liberties for too many years that Patton let her get away with. She ran Patton. But Drucker permitted her to stay in the position she had under Patton (because of their pre-election political deal) and then proceeded to make life miserable for her. This is going to end up costing the taxpayers some cash.
John December 09, 2011 at 05:36 AM
Guaranteed lifetime employment with a fat pension left the private sector decades ago, yet it still can be found thriving, even demanded, in the public sector. So yes this is central to the lawsuit. Political deals count for nothing, Drucker, like all politicians, was free to break any campaign promises at any time. Sally, had her mind set on her lifetime entitlement and would have sued NO MATTER when she was fired or for what reason or for what ever documentation was built up. Such is the unsustainable legacy sense of entitlement found only in the public sector.
Harry December 09, 2011 at 02:04 PM
The lawsuit clearly states that Dietrick needed four more years to get to 25 years on the OPERS retirement system to qualify for maximum benefits. Those four years would have been concurrent with the new mayor's term in office. IF the mayor had dismissed Dietrick upon taking office the lawsuit would be baseless. Dietrick's position is an administrative appointment and department head and department head secretary's are appointed at the pleasure of the mayor. The problem is Drucker (as a result of a deal with Patton) retained Dietrick and then all their personal problems ensued leading to this lawsuit. This is going to cost the city or insurance company some settlement dollars because of the way Drucker handled this.
Peter Bower March 06, 2013 at 07:53 PM
What deal was made with Beachwood Mayor Merle Gorden to hire Dietrick?

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