Rockville Mayor Phyllis Marcuccio says she hopes that city officials won’t have to talk to Carlos Vargas, the city’s former human resources director, about harassment and discrimination claims by former city employees.
“He has a lot of history,” Marcuccio said last week. “It may be necessary to talk to him when our investigation is finally completed. I hope it won’t be necessary.”
The city has of former city employees’ claims that they were subjected to harassment and discrimination by their supervisors while employed by the city. , some of the former employees criticized Vargas, who recently resigned.
“He’s naturally going to be mentioned because he’s director of personnel,” Marcuccio said.
It’s unclear whether investigators spoke with Vargas before his last day at . City officials have been tight-lipped about the claims and about the investigation, citing city policy not to comment on personnel issues.
Asked about the “history” to which she was referring, Marcuccio said Vargas could be able to flesh out details about how employees were treated.
“There are [personnel] files,” she said. “It’s beyond the files.”
Vargas’s resignation “was a bit of a surprise,” Marcuccio said.
in a letter on May 11, acting city manager Jennifer Kimball said. He resigned, effective June 1, to take a job with a nonprofit organization, she said.
“It was a nice opportunity for him,” Kimball said, adding that she did not know whether the new job was local.
Kimball and Marcuccio both spoke to Rockville Patch in brief interviews at on Wednesday, where they attended .
Kimball said she informed the mayor and City Council of Vargas’s resignation in an email on June 2, a Saturday and the day after Vargas's final day with the city.
“I wanted to respect Carlos’s interest in managing the process and letting him complete his final weeks here in a pleasant manner,” Kimball said. “And I was comfortable with that timing.”
Kimball said she could not comment on the ongoing investigation into former employees’ claims.
“[Vargas] did not indicate that his decision was related to that,” she said. “He just indicated that he had been offered a new opportunity that he wanted to take advantage of.”
Kimball said she and Vargas had a standard exit interview “to include a plan for the interim period.”
Colette Anthony, a labor and employee relations manager with the city, is serving as acting director of the Department of Human Resources.
“We will wait for a new city manager to come on board to do a recruitment to fill that position and Burt Hall’s position,” Kimball said.
Hall, the city’s longtime director of recreation and parks, will retire on Friday after 39 years with the city.
The mayor and council have narrowed their search for a new city manager to . The mayor and council met Tuesday to discuss the finalists, but won’t likely announce their city manager selection for “a couple more weeks,” Marcuccio said Wednesday.