Female Employee Alleges 'Toxic' Work Environment Under Leopold
Three female former employees have now testified against Leopold.
An Anne Arundel County employee working under County Executive John R. Leopold detailed an alleged "toxic" work environment in a signed affidavit.
The affidavit was signed Sept. 1 by Carla Sagerholm, the county's community services manager. She testified that she is on medical leave after suffering post-traumatic stress syndrome from what she calls a "toxic environment at the Executive Offices."
"We appear to be constantly watched for any behavior or acts that might reveal 'disloyalty,'" according to the affidavit.
Sagerholm's affidavit was first reported on by WBAL TV, and the full document can be read on its website.
Leopold and the county are currently facing two potentially costly litigations from former employees accusing the executive of official misconduct and gender discrimination.
Karla Hamner and Joan Harris are each pursuing cases against the county in U.S. District Court on grounds of wrongful termination. Hamner is seeking $300,000, and Harris is seeking nearly $1 million.
Sagerholm's testimony was added to Hamner's lawsuit against Leopold and the county. She said she's lived in fear for her job ever since she allegedly witnessed top county officials ordering Harris to be fired for speaking with Hamner's attorney.
A spokesman for the county executive told Patch he had no comment about Sagerholm.
In August, The Capital reported that three Anne Arundel County police officers testified that Leopold allegedly ordered the firing of an employee over a complaint about his behavior. Their testimony was also added to Hamner's case.
In light of these cases, Anne Arundel County Councilmen Jamie Benoit (D-4th District) of Crownsville and Jerry Walker (R-7th District) of Gambrills are reviving legislation that would require the council to approve legal settlements over $100,000. The second piece of legislation would empower the county attorney to pursue reimbursement.
Public hearings for both bills is set for Sept. 18.