City to challenge panel ruling

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 1, 2004

Suffolk News-Herald

Suffolk can move ahead with its efforts to keep a fired city employee off the payroll, the Circuit Court ruled Wednesday.

Last month, a grievance panel unanimously ordered the city to reinstate a former public utilities employee, Darlene H. Wilkerson. She was one of seven public utilities employees terminated in October 2003 after being accused of cashing personal checks and using IOUs from public monies.


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No criminal charges were filed against any of the employees.

On Wednesday, Circuit Court Judge Rodham T. Delk refused a request by Wilkerson’s attorney, John D. Eure Jr., that would have prevented the city from challenging the committee’s action. This move puts the final outcome back in the hands of Human Resources Director Yvonne Manning.

However, in keeping with state law, Wilkerson could again appeal Manning’s decision, said Eure.

Eure believes Manning should not be the final decision-maker, considering she initially recommended Wilkerson’s termination and later testified against her. In filing the injunction, Eure asked the court to appoint an unbiased third party to resolve the grievance.

&uot;Yvonne Manning has a built-in bias,&uot; Eure said. &uot;It’s like asking the prosecutor and star witness to come back and be the judge.&uot;

City Manager R. Steven Herbert said the city is happy with the judge’s decision and will proceed with the appeal.

Eure said he is satisfied knowing he can legally appeal the decision.