Feb 10, 2016

The Richmond city employee who won the 2015 James Madison Freedom Of Information Whistleblower Award has now also won $104,000 as part of a legal settlement with the city.

Stacie Plummer’s lawsuit accused the city of retaliating against her as a whisteblower, as Plummer said her career suffered between 2012 and 2014 after she reported wrongdoing by a manager.

Plummer’s actions forced the former assistant city manager and human resources director, Leslie Knight, into early retirement. Among the malfeasance Plummer reported: she said Knight was running a gift-basket business using city facilities, employees and other resources, and that Knight was also improperly receiving a $450 monthly car allowance while also using a city vehicle. The charges were widely reported by the local media.

In a statement from the Mayor’s Office Tuesday, the city said it decided to settle the federal case “based upon the likely cost of defense and the cost of trial.”

The city did not admit to wrongdoing as part of the settlement. The mayor’s office also said it hired independent investigators who determined “with a few minor exceptions” that dozens of complaints by Plummer were unfounded.

“The City has a zero tolerance policy which prohibits discrimination and retaliation in any form and that policy was not breached in this matter,” the mayor’s office statement said.

Here is an account Plummer gave of her eight-year tenure under Knight in this March 2013 clip:

The story has been amended to state that the city settled with Plummer. An earlier report incorrectly stated she won a judgement.


  1. Dear Ms. Plummer: Thank you for your courageous action in speaking out when no one else would! Unfortunately, what typically happens is that the personcausing the problems are left in place and the effective worker either leaves on their own or is forced out one way or another. Nothing ever changes. I applaud your decision to speak out and to withstand the repercussions, for you will always know you did the right thing.

    Ed Diaz | Feb 10th, 2016
  2. Actually, Stacie Plummer did have a judgment entered in her favor in the federal court as part of a legal settlement of the case so it was not really an error to characterize it as a judgment although the case never went to trial.

    Nina Smith | Feb 11th, 2016
  3. The victory is that unlike most whistleblowers, Stacie Plummer kept her job as part of the settlement. Not only were her claims well-substantiated, she is also an excellent civil servant who was born and raised in Richmond – unlike most of the folks who retaliated against her.

    Derek Kerr | Feb 12th, 2016

About the Author

Mike Aldax is the editor of the Richmond Standard. He has 13 years of journalism experience, most recently as a reporter for the San Francisco Examiner. He previously held roles as reporter and editor at Bay City News, Napa Valley Register, Garden Island Newspaper in Kaua’i, and the Queens Courier in New York City.