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Baltimore Sheriff John Anderson sued for retaliation by lieutenant

September 9, 2013
By

mobs_sherriffThe 2010 election for Baltimore City Sheriff, an office held since the late 1980s by John Anderson, was unusually competitive with five challengers in the Democratic primary. Not surprisingly, given the predictable calculus when challengers split the vote, Anderson won. But one of his challengers – Deborah Claridy, a long-time Anderson lieutenant whose knowledge of the sheriff’s office allowed her to campaign with a detailed critique of Anderson’s management, and who was endorsed by City Paper – now claims Anderson has since made her pay.

On Sept. 8 – nearly three years to the day since the 2010 primary election – Claridy sued Anderson in U.S. District Court, saying he retaliated against her at work for exercising her First Amendment rights on the campaign trail. She now wants Anderson to pay, too – to the tune of $2.5 million.

It is not the first time Claridy has resorted to a legal challenge to force Anderson to change. She was named a lieutenant in 2003 after winning an equal-employment-opportunity case that forced Anderson, two years earlier, to promote her to sergeant.

During the 2010 election, Claridy told City Paper that Anderson was a “fiscally irresponsible” sheriff who “hires friends and cronies who don’t work hard. I want people to know that, and question that, so the courthouse will be cleaned up.”

The lawsuit reiterates many of the details of Claridy’s campaign critiques, including her proposals to: recruit and hire more minorities and women as deputy sheriffs with law-enforcement duties; promote more women to supervisory positions; to make the office the primary agency handling domestic-violence complaints; to add more deputies to courtroom security; to train deputies to assist other agencies with homeland-security duties; to improve the office’s procedures in dealing with homeowners in foreclosure; to upgrade courthouse-security technology; and to end to overtime abuse.

In the lawsuit, Claridy says Anderson started retaliating against her immediately upon her return to work after losing the primary election. She had been the administrative lieutenant, in charge of the office’s day-to-day operations, but claims she was summarily relieved of those duties and assigned instead to conduct “daily courtroom checks” – an assignment that had not previously existed, and for which there was no job description “other than to go to the courtrooms” each day, “observe what transpired” in them, and “make reports of her observations.”

Nonetheless, Claridy’s suit continues, she “performed her new assignment diligently” for eight months – until May 2011, when she was served with 17 administrative disciplinary charges. Many of the charges arose from her campaign activities, and the rest concerned how she carried out her courtroom-check duties. She was immediately suspended from duty and stripped of her police powers. After the charges were dismissed in an Aug. 2011 trial board, Claridy was scheduled to resume work – but was re-charged, this time without any of the campaign-related allegations, and her suspension continued, including of her police powers.

In March 2012, Claridy’s lawsuit continues, Anderson ordered her back to work – but with a new assignment. Now she was directed to read and respond to emails, handle routine paperwork, count prisoners at the courthouse lockup, and check the courthouse doors, hand sanitizers, and phones “to make sure that they were operational.” Meanwhile, her police powers continued to be suspended – until the resolution of her pending disciplinary charges, which Anderson, Claridy contends, is doing nothing to resolve.

The lawsuit also says that “Anderson offered to dismiss all disciplinary charges pending against Claridy, and to purge her personnel jacket of all related adverse information, if she retired. Claridy declined to do so.”

Anderson did not immediately respond to an email and a phone call seeking comment. His aide, reached by phone, says he is currently in Ocean City for a Maryland Sheriffs Association conference.

  • Serpico

    The Lt. is not the first employee to sue the agency dig deeper to this issue she has put it out there now dig deeper . Other employees have had their careers put down because of the sheriff and his cronies that more or less run the office . There is a supervisor that has been at the sheriff`s office for about two years that had a altercation with another supervisor but was not punished he was promoted , he is a major now. The Sheriff`s Office has a big moral problem all because of the issue that the Lt. has spoken on . No one has address them because there is no respect for the agency inside or out in the law enforcement community. The agency is important and should have the respect but with Anderson`s cronies running the day to day operations that won`t happen it`s time for a change. City Paper can get it started.

  • Deputy Dooright

    I have been a member of the Baltimore City Sheriff’s Office for over 15 years and I can honestly say that John Anderson and Deborah Claridy are “two sides of the same coin.” Both have used retaliatory tactics against deputies in the sheriff’s office and both of them need to go somewhere and disappear into retirement for the betterment of everyone in the sheriff’s office.

    Anderson and Claridy’s constant feuding and law suits over the past decade have eroded the trust and morale within all ranks of our great and historic agency. Anderson and Claridy have successfully divided this agency in half. The negative atmosphere is so thick that you can’t cut through it with any amount of positive energy.

    Sheriff Anderson really has no desire or motivation to continue as Baltimore’s Sheriff, he has only stayed this long at the behest of his friends in high places and state legislatures who election after election allow him to ride on their campaign ballots in exchange for high dollar donations and great paying jobs for their family members and friends. It is an absolute mess around here, and a low-down dirty shame …. but 100% true.

    Anderson’s saving grace has also been the fact that everyone from Baltimore Circuit Court Judges to the local media have all but ignored the foul odor that has emanated from the sheriff’s office for years under his leadership.

    All the while, excellent deputies have one-by-one suffered wrongful termination only to fight through lengthy and expensive appeal processes costing tax payers hundreds of thousands of dollars, until “Prudent” judges in Maryland’s highest appeals court have deemed the acts of Sheriff Anderson to be wrong and unjust and ordered these deputies immediately reinstated with full reimbursement of back pay and benefits, …Example click the link and scroll to read the story of Deputy James Lane ( http://mcea.md.aft.org/success-stories/mcea-working-you) .

    The wronged deputies then rightfully turn around and file wrongful termination civil law suits, thus causing more hundreds of thousands of dollars of tax payers’ money to be spent for Anderson’s ineptitude and disregard for the very laws and rights he has taken an oath to uphold and protect.

    Sad but true, if Lt. Deborah Claridy had been elected during the 2010 election, we the members of the sheriff’s office would have found ourselves lifted out of Anderson’s frying pan and into Claridy’s fire. Claridy had vowed during her campaign to bring vengeance against those in the sheriff’s office who she felt was against her and aligned themselves with Anderson.

    The sheriff’s office cannot continue to operate in this vacuum of internal strife, mismanagement, and diminished morale, because the people of Baltimore subsequently pay the ultimate price, which results in a lack of service and apathetic deputies who focus more on escaping retaliation than protecting the residents of Baltimore. Myself, along with many other deputies hope that the 2014 election delivers the gift of a much needed leadership change in the Baltimore City Sheriff’s office.

    As for Sheriff Anderson and Lt. Claridy…. Please, we beg of you; take your 64 years of combined service with the sheriff’s office and enjoy the full and lucrative retirements that you both are entitled to and GO HOME!!

  • Matlock

    Sheriff’s Deputy Ordered Reinstated after Termination Reversed

    Baltimore City Sheriff’s Deputy James Lane has literally taken a bullet in the furtherance of his duties. He was shot in the face line of duty in September, 2008, and as a result of his efforts to get an answer to how that shooting took place, he was terminated by the Sheriff. MCEA provided representation to Deputy Lane through his trial board under the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights, and while the trial board ruled that the Deputy should keep his job, the Sheriff nonetheless ordered that the Deputy be terminated in January, 2012. MCEA’s Board approved an appeal to the Circuit Court for Baltimore City, and Hillary Davis, who had handled the trial board, also argued Deputy Lane’s case before the Court. On August 10, 2012, Judge Jeffrey Geller issued an opinion and order, finding the Sheriff had both improperly relied on certain evidence in terminating Lane, but that he had failed to follow certain mandatory provisions of the Law Enforcement Officer’s Bill of Rights. As such, the Court reversed the termination, ordered that Deputy Lane be reinstated with full back pay and benefits, and further ordered that the “Baltimore City Sheriff’s Office shall take all necessary actions to carry out this Court’s Order.” Despite this order, the Sheriff has indicated his intent to appeal, and Deputy Lane will continue to be represented by MCEA throughout that process. Lane has agreed to attend MCEA’s October, 2012 Convention, to share his story with the delegates present and to personally thank MCEA for its continuing efforts on his behalf.

    - See more at: http://mcea.md.aft.org/success-stories/mcea-working-you#sthash.yajPc4g4.dpuf

  • NotSurprised

    Im really not surprised about Andersons’ doing but then again, he may very well be shocked to hear about these allegations himself because he doesnt come to work until 2pm on a daily basis to where he may be unaware of what is going on in his department. He lets his incompetent command staff runs the operation. Anderson has shown his employees that he could care less about them and the way the agency is ran. Whatever Major Sam Cogen says…Anderson goes along by signing his signature. He doesnt take the time to read, investigate or give any opinion on the matter. JOHN ANDERSON DO NOT CARE!!! Lt. Claridy shouldnt be surprised by the Sheriff and his command staff actions. She was told in 2010 that Sam Cogen stated “whoever supports Claridy is gonna be fired along with her.” To my knowledge, 3 of her campaign members was in fact terminated. She was the last of the Mohicans to face termination and again they was unsuccessful. This foolishness will continue to take place as long as the Deputies allow it. The 3 deputies that supported Lt. Claridy stood for something and they are being vindicated 1-by-1. Why…John Anderson and Sam Cogen, the TRUTH WILL PREVAIL!!! Stay tuned for more lawsuits to follow………

  • Barnadine_the_Pirate

    Oh, look, incompetence and cronyism from a Baltimore City elected official. What a shock.

  • Lady Cop 911

    Deputy James Lane 11 years of service. Status currently sitting home collection a pay check as a full time employee of the Baltimore City Sheriff’s Office for 3 years wasting tax payers dollars.
    Deputy Evander Maye 11 years of sevice. Status full time employee shift 11 am to 7 pm. lock up post duties turn key Unable to work overtime and or secondary due to the personal retaliation of the command staff
    Deputy Juanita Gaines 12 years of service. Unemployed currently fighting for her carrer.

  • Lady Cop 911

    Lt. Reed court security now Captain Reed State Side. Insuborndinate to his superior officer Captain Ruebottom. No internal affairs complaints filed

  • PIsces02

    @ Lady Cop 911, lets not forget about the wrongful termination of Lakesha Peirson after she filed a sexual harassment complaint only to be reinstated by a 3 judge panel who also ordered that she be reimbursed with 2 yrs of back pay and benefits. I would hope she file suit against them as well! John Anderson created this mayhem by allowing Sam Cogen to make these asinine decisions and not taking control of his agency. It is hurricane season so BEWARE OF HURRICANE DEBBIE!!!

  • Thetwilightzone

    I have to say being in the sheriff office gives good meaning to the term “HNIC.” I am appalled at the manner in which the deputies that work very hard each day are treated by this regime. These supervisors that walk around in white shirts are nothing more then gang members. They don’t supervise they threaten, they are vindictive, and they lead by emotion and not knowledge. Why in the world would you put your employees in danger by making them work in a state of emergency answer: because we’re bullies and we can. Stop lying about getting more money if we are seen on the street with the city police it’s not true and the deputies know it but are scared crapless to stand up for themselves. They are also scared crapless to get help in forming a real FOP because the white shirt gang wants total control and they know what they do is dead wrong and if they had a real FOP whew it would be on. It is time for a change. There is no comradery and not because they don’t like each other but no one can be trusted. There is no moral because they are treated like crap. And why in the world would you charge your own deputies, the ones that have not had a raise in Gods knows when, 100.00 to go to a fundraiser. What do you give them to show appreciation not one damn thing, nothing, nada but a very hard way to go. It’s sickening. I hope the justice department gets in the middle of this mess and cleans house. And if you don’t know what HNIC means. It’s Head Nigger in Charge and they fit the bill the real meaning of the word nigger. Come on justice department do that sweep.

  • #RIP 1st amendment

    It is with sadness and a heavy heart that I, a citizen of Baltimore City, am able to read, witness and even be exposed to such non-ethical behaviors, distorted mannerisms, and underhanded malice of the one that ought to exemplify and at times: force order, unity, and sanctity amongst us civilians, and especially the office in which he is directly appointed. Rather, something once kept quiet, as a young girl impregnated in the 1960’s then shipped down south to born her baby, is now awaken by many that have been disturbed by the silence.
    We first must look at self. Will you continue to support and reinforce the continuing patter? Oh, because he “gave” you a job? For many of you, your credentials earned you that job, that position you have. Let’s give this matter some thought and give him the benefit of doubt that he did in fact “give you your job”-I’m sure that by now you have paid him back, TWICE! You’ve taken enough of a beating, enough of the disrespect, enough verbal abuse, enough mistreatment and overlook, I’m sure you’ve tuned the other cheek…JUST ENOUGH! But when will enough be enough? I know when. When there is change. Stop supporting someone you don’t support. I’m sure you work hard for your money, and given what I’ve read, it seems you don’t get paid enough to carry out your duties and deal with the chaos of the office-directly or indirectly you are affected by them. So why take that same money that you’ve earned and buy a ticket to the party that support the campaign of the man who’s directly responsible for the mistreatment, and even unemployment of yourself and your fellow employees? The proof is in the pudding. I tell you this- HE DOESN’T HAVE MY VOTE! Don’t hide behind these hash tags or these 149+ characters. The only other option that we all have is to stay in the same situation of the trend that’s been set since the 1980’s-it’s played out and corny now!

    its great, good, wonderful that we are talking and speaking out. but it all means nothing if we dont act upon it. like beating a dead horse-its already dead.#RIP

    Because if nothing changes, then NOTHING changes.

  • 411

    There was a time when working FOR the Sheriffs office was a pleasure. Them the changing of the guards took place.Once the bullies got rid of Goodwin the game changed. The Deputy’s knew they didn’t stand a chance
    It seem as if whenever a person or persons was hired who had the Deputy’s at heart they didn’t last long. Now u have individuals being promoted based on who they are related too. Case in point; ,Lt. Jackie Conway Joan Conway’s’ daughter.Lt. Conway didn’t perform her
    duties as a district deputy so what do they do promote her to Sargent that had no supervisory skills what so ever. So what did they do? You got it promoted her to Lt.Who still doesn’t supervise.Her favorite question is Do I need to make a phone call? Who’s running the office Joan? The new moral buster is the hiring of retired Balto city police officers and prompting them. The office has lost a lot of GREAT OFFICERS because of these practices. All the Command Staff needs to go and Conway with her rude behind!

  • coco

    LLS…Very funny I reconize someone I don’t feel sorry for… It’s called Karma when u had thoes mighty powers and made ppl lives hell what u thought was gonna happen… get over it find a new career.. Mr. Anderson did just right got the drama queens and kings outta there… So stop crying and find a new career… you are no longer needed or wanted it’s called Black Balled get it CTFU…