Current city employee sues city and is awarded $243,000 - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Current city employee sues city and is awarded $243,000; still employed

By Christie Post - email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) – A current city employee, Martha Ellerbrook claims the City of Lubbock retaliated against her for helping her husband Terry in his own lawsuit against the city. After three days in trial, Martha has been awarded $243,000, and gets to keep her job as director of Animal Services for the city.

Martha says she is protected by Title VII which is a law that prohibits job discrimination.

"I'm glad that it's over, but I think the right verdict was reached and I'm very grateful for that," says Martha Ellerbrook.

She says the city failed to hire her as the water programs coordinator; a position her husband, Terry Ellerbrook created. Martha sought three years back pay and retirement she would of received for a position the city says no longer exists.

"The evidence showed there was no retaliation. We will certainly look at our legal options as far as appealing," says City of Lubbock Attorney, Bob Craig.

You'll remember that Martha Ellerbrook claimed the city retaliated against her when she was applying for a job back in 2007.

She says she was passed up for the water programs coordinator position because she was helping her husband terry in his own lawsuit against the city.

The city says they were in a catch 22 when Martha applied because of litigations with her husband, so they hired a Dallas based consultant group to pick the final candidate.

Earlier Thursday, Chris Hartung, the head-hunter with the consultant group who was paid to be in court - said in his testimony that he asked Tom Adams, who was responsible for hiring for the job, to prepare a scoring matrix to grade the candidates. Hartung says he didn't skew the scores or favor one candidate over the other.

The woman who was hired for the water programs coordinator job -Tammy Vander Kuy also took the stand today. She says before she even got position, she worked in the city's water department. She also added that she had her bachelor's and master's degree.

However, Martha claimed that Vander Kuy did not have enough experience working with the environment and water, which she says was a main duty of the position.

After Thursday's decision Ellerbrook is happy, while the city plans to appeal

"In 2003 she continued to work for the city doing work for the city but not getting paid. She's extremely committed to the city, she loves this community, she wants to be a part of this community and she wants to be treated fairly and she wants other citizens to be treated fairly," says Martha Ellerbrook's attorney, Adam Voyles.

The evidence showed there was no retaliation. We will certainly look at our legal options as far as appealing

If you remember Martha's husband Terry also sued the city of Lubbock after he was reassigned to another position within the city. The city later settled with him out of court for around $250,000 dollars.

Martha Ellerbrook says she hopes change will be made in the city.


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