The terms of a negotiated agreement between East Hampton Town and Linda Norris, who had been suspended in October from her post as the adult day care supervisor for the Human Services Department, were detailed this week. In addition to being kept on in a different town department, as announced last week, Ms. Norris will be required to attend sensitivity training at her own expense, and has been put on notice that she would be fired if any further issues arise.
A Montauk resident, Ms. Norris had hired Lawrence Kelly and Thomas Horn, attorneys with a record of representing plaintiffs against the town. A large number of supporters appeared on her behalf at Town Hall on Dec. 7, when a hearing on the charges was scheduled. Also at Town Hall that day were, reportedly, two Human Services Department employees scheduled to testify before a hearing officer that was appointed to review the case. The hearing did not take place because negotiations resulted in a settlement.
The stipulation of agreement, which both parties have signed, says that the charges filed by Diane Patrizio, the town’s director of Human Services, alleged “violations of town policy, conduct unbecoming an employee, insubordination, failure to perform her duties, acting beyond the scope of her authority, and/or unacceptable performance of supervisory responsibilities.”
The Civil Service Employees Association had denied all the disciplinary charges on Ms. Norris’s behalf, but, after the negotiation, she pleaded guilty to one charge of “failure to perform [your] duties” and agreed to the 30-day suspension without pay, which she served from Oct. 10, after the charges were first brought, through Nov. 9.
Ms. Norris was transferred to the East Hampton Town Office of Housing and Community Development as an administrative aide. After 10 days, the position was to go from “temporary” to “provisional” status. To retain the job, she must take a Civil Service examination and meet other qualifications. If she turns out not to be eligible for a permanent appointment to the position under Civil Service rules, the settlement calls for the town to “exercise its best efforts to locate another position” for which she is eligible and qualified.
The sensitivity training to which Ms. Norris agreed will relate to “race relations, workplace violence, and/or such other training selected by the town,” according to the settlement. It is to be scheduled for a maximum of two unpaid workdays, although Ms. Norris may use accrued personal time off on those days. She will have to pay for the cost of the training, up to $500.
By signing the stipulation of agreement, she also acknowleged that she had received a “notice and final warning” that the town would seek to terminate her employment should there be any future conduct on her part believed to violate town policy, “including but not limited to the town’s Workplace Violence Prevention Policy,” or other grounds for charges. She also waived her right to make future claims against the town related to the October disciplinary charges.