City Responds To Employee Lawsuit - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

4/20/06

City Responds To Employee Lawsuit

New information Thursday concerning the lawsuit filed against the city by a current employee for monetary damages. Terry Ellerbrook claims the city discriminated against him because of his age, and that the city engaged in illegal activity.

Ellerbrook has been employed with the city for more than 20 years. He once headed the city's public works, and now oversees the solid waste department. Ellerbrook believes he was demoted because he filed a grievance with the city.

The city says they usually don't comment on cases while in litigation, but they did this time specifically, because the lawsuit makes allegations that a current city council member acted illegally. Mayor Marc McDougal says the allegations in this lawsuit are unfounded. Lawyers for Ellerbrook suggest they can prove otherwise.

"The city council is sick and tired of lawyers filing frivolous lawsuits to extort money from the taxpayers, and the council's action of yesterday says, 'it stops now!'"

Mayor Marc McDougal's response comes just 24 hours after a lawsuit was filed against the city. Employee Terry Ellerbrook is accusing them of discrimination, whistle blower retaliation, and charter and open meeting violations. The lawsuit claims "...Tom Adams, was being directed concerning Ellerbrook's employment by councilman Tom Martin which is expressly against the provisions of the city charter."

McDougal says, "Tom Adams told me today, and I quote, ' no one on the city council ever directed me to fire or re-assign Terry Ellerbrook.'"

After the Mayor's statements, NewsChannel 11 received an e-mail from Ellerbrook's lead attorney, David Fielding. He wrote, "although I would not normally want to comment about a matter in litigation, the Mayor's statement this afternoon is so misleading, a response is necessary."

Ellerbrook's attorney obtained a memo addressed from Thomas Adams to Tom Martin dated November 19, 2004. It states, "I spoke with Terry Ellerbrook, and told him six months to a year. I know I told you six months, but I would ask for up to a year. I told him that it was time for a change in leadership."

Ellerbrook's attorney said in his e-mail to us, "if Mr. Martin was not involved in the decision, why would Mr. Adams be seeking his permission to extend Terry's stay?"

We spoke with the Mayor and he said the memo was just an update, and there is no response letter from Tom Martin giving permission or approval. We spoke with Tom Martin and he said he never responded to that e-mail. Adams was just briefing him and everyone else on the issue. Martin also says that just because Adams sent a memo doesn't mean he did anything wrong.

We also learned Thursday that Ellerbrook was trying to claim damages from possible lost salary because of his re-assignment. The Mayor says at the start of this dispute Ellerbrook's salary was about $108,000, and he is still employed by the City of Lubbock today at a salary of over $115,000.

4/19/06
City Employee Files Lawsuit Against Employer
Your tax dollars could end up going to one city employee if he gets his way and wins a lawsuit against his employer. The NewsChannel 11's Jennifer Vogel obtained a copy of the suit and has the details.

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