After abruptly quitting her job as assistant to East Hampton Town Supervisor Bill Wilkinson on Jan. 4, Johnson Nordlinger, a Montauk resident, has reportedly met with an attorney who specializes in helping employees who have allegedly been wronged.
“We’ve met with her, and we’re investigating the situation,” Thomas Horn of Sag Harbor said Tuesday. “So far it’s a rare combination of alarming but not surprising,” he said of the circumstances surrounding Ms. Johnson’s resignation.
Asked if Ms. Nordlinger was considering bringing a lawsuit under any employment regulations, he said that, whenever a client seeks a consultation, “it’s fair to say that. We’re still looking at a broad spectrum of issues,” he said.
Three other employees who sought legal representation in recent years under Mr. Wilkinson’s administration had hired Mr. Horn as their attorney. Larry Penny, the former longtime Natural Resources director, engaged him after town officials brought a laundry list of disciplinary charges against him alleging misconduct, incompetence, and insubordination. Mr. Penny, who worked for the town for 26 years, claimed the administration was trying to force him out. After a 30-day suspension without pay, he never returned to work, and tendered his resignation early last year.
Jorge Kusanovic, a Hispanic employee of the town Parks Department, filed an $18 million lawsuit against the town last fall, alleging racial discrimination. Besides Mr. Horn, he was represented by Lawrence Kelly, another attorney who has honed in on alleged misconduct by town officials in employee-related and other matters.
Most recently, Mr. Horn negotiated a settlement with the town on behalf of Linda Norris, a Human Services Department employee who was also suspended without pay after the town charged her with misconduct and incompetence. She was transferred to a position in another department.
Mr. Horn said Tuesday that “three or four other” ex-town employees have consulted with him, as have several people still employed by the town.
“They are very, very worried,” he said. “And their worries range from . . . they are targeted, or that when the layoffs started there was such a recklessness.” Others who feel they are doing a good job are concerned that their work isn’t recognized, he said.