But he asks citizens not to jump to any conclusions.
Frederick, Md (KM) It’s been just over a week, and there’s still no word from City Hall on why Frederick Community Action Agency Director Mike Spurrier was fired. During a recent appearance on WFMD’s “Morning News Express with Bob Miller,” Mayor Michael O’Connor repeated that it’s not appropriate to talk about personnel issues in a public forum. “They’re by nature are complex. Each one of them is individual in its own. The reason for privacy is to protect individual rights,” he said.
In addition, the Mayor said the terminated employee is free to talk about it, but the city could have problems if it discusses personnel matters in public. “It’s frustrating from the outside perspective to say ‘why can’t you tell us more,'” he said. “And from an employer perspective, our disclosure of anything from a personnel-related area makes us potentially a target for a lawsuit if we’ve not protected the rights of our employees to the fullest extent that we can.”
But the Mayor urges citizens not to jump to conclusions about the firing. “I don’t think people should infer anything,” he said. “I don’t think people should look at a personnel issue and try and determine or understand what may be behind it,” he said.
Prior to his firing, Spurrier sent around an e-mail to supporters saying the Mayor called him into his office at City Hall, and handed him a two-page termination letter. He said the Mayor told him that he wanted to take the Community Action Agency in a new direction. But, Spurrier said, Mayor O’Connor offered him the opportunity to resign or retire. Spurrier had been Director of the Community Action Agency for 31 year. Spurrier says he rejected the offer, and encouraged his supporters to show up and testify at the Board of Aldermen Workshop that Wednesday and speak up. A large number did attend the Workshop several spoke, including some who called for Spurrier to leave as well those who wanted him to stay on. .
That evening, the Mayor and the Aldermen told Spurrier he had 28-days to wrap up his affairs at the Community Action Agency.
As for his replacement, Mayor O’Connor said he wants to take a look at the structure of the Community Action Agency as well as its effectiveness in delivering services to clients. “How the Community Action Agency fits in with the other service agencies that are doing things in the city of Frederick to make sure we’re meeting the needs of the important work that gets done at the FCAA. We have to make sure that we’re doing it in a way that best meets the needs of the people we;re trying to serve,”: he says.,
The Mayor noted that even though downtown Frederick is a vibrant place, not all the news is good. “We’re not perfect. We have pockets of poverty, and homelessness and addiction. And we have to deal with those at the same that we’re celebrating the vibrancy of our downtown,” O’Connor says.
By Kevin McManus