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.
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