Mayor: Former HR Director 'Has a Lot of History'

Acting city manager 'comfortable' with how council was notified of Vargas's resignation.

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.

Dan Cohen June 13, 2012 at 11:28 AM
Thomas Mercer June 13, 2012 at 01:24 PM
Pitor, Are you stipulating that because the 2011 election and the resignation of the city manager that the mayor is responsible for the investigation? I would agree in a very narrow minded examination that one could possibly cast blame on the mayor simply because she wanted to find out what is going on in city hall. However, the mayor has a responsibility to us citizens to see the person appointed as the city manager carries out the visions of the mayor and council. If one looks back prior to the appointment of Mr. Ullery the city had numerous city managers and once they left the city there was long gaps where there was no city manager. For the mayor and council to be in the position of choosing three candidates within a seven month period is exceptional. Examine the past history of hiring city managers and see how long it took the city to hire Bruce Romer and Mark Pentz then Scott Ullery. Cont below
Thomas Mercer June 13, 2012 at 01:25 PM
The resignations of Mr. Vargas and Mr Hall had nothing to do with the election of the mayor and council. All one needs to do is search the internet and see that the senior management in many cases did not change until a new city manager was selected. Also, supporting the actions of Ms. Kimball is beyond belief. Why does the city have as part of the contract a 30 day requirement for notification of resignation? For Ms. Kimball to allow Vargas to resign and only give three weeks notice sure sounds like a breach of contract. It also stinks to high heaven of a cover up. When the claims of abusive managers was first published in the Sentinel paper, many could not believe that he city could treat any employee with such disrespect and allow violations of peoples civil rights and many other violations of employment law. From what I have been reading here in this forum is that Both Mark P and yourself have no sympathy towards the horrific treatment of city staff, and even worse continue to show support for the actions of senior managers in the city. What will come out is exactly what orders the city manager received from the mayor and council to carry out his treatment of city staff. I find it very interesting that you and two others stood behind the city manager while the abuses were brought to your attention on several occasions
Joseph Jordan June 13, 2012 at 07:53 PM
Piotr, if you recall, the last Council, of which you were a member, agreed to let the to-be-elected Council go through the process of hiring the new City Manager. The former City Manager and former Director of HR took on the job of engaging a search firm. It has been only 6 months since Scott Ullery left his position, the current Council was elected, a recruiting piece was crafted, the search firm started looking for candidates, the Council interviewed those candidates, the Council narrowed the field to three and are now in final deliberations, after allowing citizens to meet and greet the three finalists. As Mr. Mercer points out, that is pretty darn good, considering the importance of the position and the process itself. There aren't any shrinking violets on this Council, so I am sure if anyone felt the process was dragging, we would have heard from them. As for resignations and investigations, get real, Piotr. We can all thank the Mayor for showing leadership in finally doing something about the serious allegations that were brought to everyone's attention because a few courageous employees got their story out via the Sentinel.
Not Taking Any More June 15, 2012 at 10:29 PM
Dan Cohen--have I finally found a hero in Rockville? Could it be you? I volunteer to escort out Kimball, the city attorney, and many more of em. If only some of the council members would go too. Wonder if Gajewski is paying them to act so unkindly and unfairly--was he ever cleared legally or morally of allegedly being paid for his last votes when he was on council; or for his allegedly illegal campaign contributions?


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