Job cut said not retaliatory

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Suffolk News-Herald

Come July 1, the city employee who last year accused City Attorney C. Edward Roettger of misconduct will be unemployed.

Brenda Knight, now an engineering aid in the public works department, is the only employee whose position was axed from the city’s 2005 operating budget. The $280 million budget includes funding for 34 new positions, mostly public safety officers, said Dennis Craff, spokesman for the city.

Email newsletter signup

Knight, a legal assistant in Roettger’s office for several years, brought allegations to the attention of City Council in December 2003. Last spring, after an outside investigation, the council cleared Roettger – one of only three council employees – of any wrongdoing.

Because her position is being eliminated, Knight will not be eligible to file a grievance claim against the city, Craff said. She would have the right to go before a grievance panel if she had been fired.

Knight refused to comment on the situation.

Mayor E. Dana Dickens III is also keeping quiet, saying he isn’t able to discuss personnel issues.

Despite some people’s perceptions, the budget cut is not retaliation for Knight’s actions against Roettger, Craff said.

&uot;Essentially, there is no money,&uot; said Craff. &uot;There were a number of new positions requested (more than 80) that just didn’t make the cut.

&uot;Public safety and education are the big winners in this budget …public works probably got a little less than they wanted,&uot; he continued. &uot;We can’t fill every request…we have to prioritize

Knight can apply for other city positions, Craff said.

&uot;People whose positions have been cut are encouraged to apply for other positions within the city,&uot; Craff said. &uot;But being a city employee doesn’t necessarily give you a leg up on getting the job.&uot;