OHR Case Number 15?09?087
EEOC Charge Number:

Joseph T. Mallon, Jr. Esq.

I Lieutenant Charles M. Gable MALLON
5304 Tims Court 300 E. Lombard Street, 8"1 Floor
Ellicott City, MD 21043 Baltimore, MD 21202
Complainant Complainant?s Representative

Howard County MD Sheriff?s Of?ce
Sheriff James F. Fitzgerald

Jason L. Levine, Esq.
Maryland State Treasurer?s Of?ce I
Tort Claims Litigation Unit

9250 Bendix Road 80 Calvert Street, 4Ih Floor
Columbia, MD 21045 Annapolis, MD 21401

Respondent Respondent?s Representative


Date of Filing: September 18, 2015
Date Authorized: October 14, 2015
Date of Decision: September 1, 2016


The charge of alleged employment discrimination, on the basis of Political Opinion (did
not support Sheriff for re-election), Creed (treating others with dignity and respect at all times),
Age (64) and Retaliation (for engaging in a protected act), was ?led on September 18, 2015 by
Lieutenant Charles M. Gable (hereinafter Cp) with the Howard County Of?ce of Human Rights
(OHR), against Howard County MD Sheriff 3 Of?ce (Sheriff James F. Fitzgerald) (hereinafter
Rp). It was investigated by the OHR pursuant to Section 12200-12218 of the Howard County


The portion of the enclosed written ?ndings of no reasonable cause on the basis of Age

is incorporated herein as a part of this Decision and Order. Based on these ?ndings, it is this
[521 day of September 2016, the Decision of the Administrator, OHR, that the allegations of
Agediscrimination as violations of Section 12.208 of the Howard County Code made by Cp have
not been substantiated by OHR investigation, and that, therefore, there is no reasonable cause to
believe such discrimination has occurred. It is ORDERED that the A_g? portion of the case be
closed at the expiration of the appeal period. The appeal period runs for 20 days which is

until September 21, 2016. -
- [if
rbara J. ds


IN THE MATTER OF: OHR Case Number: 15-09-087
EEOC Charge Number: 12E-2015-00052

Lieutenant Charles M. Gable Joseph T. Mallon, Jr. Esq.
5304 Tims Court MALLON
Ellicott City, MD 21043 - 300 E. Lombard Street, 8th F1001-
Complainant Baltimore, MD 21202
Complainant?s Representative
Jason L. Levine, Esq.
Howard County MD Sheriff?s Of?ce Assistant Attorney General
Sheriff James F. Fitzgerald Maryland State Treasurer?s Of?ce
9250 Bendix Road Tort Claims Litigation Unit
Columbia, MD 21045 I 80 Calvert Street, 4th Floor
Respondent Annapolis, MD 21401

Respondent?s Representative

Date of Filing: September 18, 2015
Date of Authorization: October 14, 2015
Date of Finding: September 1, 2016


A charge of alleged employment discrimination, on the basis ofPolitical Opinion (did not
support Sheriff for re-election), Creed (treating others with dignity and respect at all times), Age
(64) and Retaliation (for engaging in a protected act) was ?led by Lieutenant Charles M. Gable
(hereinafter Cp), against Howard COunty Maryland Sheriff 5 Of?ce/ Sheriff James F. Fitzgerald
(hereinafter Rp), on September 18, 2015 with the Howard County Of?ce of Human Rights
(hereinafter OHR). The charge was authorized for investigation on October 14, 2015, by the
OHR Administrator and was investigated by the OHR pursuant to Section 12200-12218 of the
Howard County Code.

Cp is alleging a violation of Section 12.208 of the Howard County Code. Cp ?led the
charge within six months of the alleged discrimination as called for in Section 12.212 I of the
Howard County Code. .Rp is an employer as de?ned in Section 12.208 I of the Howard
County Code. Rp carries out the mission of the elected, State constitutional of?ce of the Sheriff,
pursuant to Article IV, Section 44 of the Maryland Constitution. Sheriff Fitzgerald is the elected
agency head. Rp employs approximately 73 people and, therefore, had the requisite number of
employees in Howard County at the time the charge was ?led to satisfy the jurisdictional
requirements for OHR and the EEOC pursuant to the Age Discrimination in Employment Act
(ADEA) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended.

The charge was cross ?led with the Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in accordance

with the work sharing agreement between the agencies.


investigation found that Sheriff James F. Fitzgerald (hereinafter Rp or Sheriff)
discriminated against Lieutenant Charles Gable (hereinafter Cp) by subjecting Cp to a severe and
pervasive hostile work environment. The evidence established that, after Sheriff Fitzgerald
discovered Cp did not support his second political campaign, Cp was assigned less favorable
work schedules and expressed increased hostile behavior from the Sheriff. OER substantiated
that Sheriff Fitzgerald habitually belittled, intimidated, threatened, and bullied Cp by the use of
loud and ongoing verbal berating and profanity-laced remarks. In 2015, the Sheriff berated and
bullied Cp to the point that Cp had no other choice but to leave his job. Additionally, when
Sheriff Fitzgerald found out that Cp had' complained about the Sheriff?s abusive behavior and
that Cp intended to ?le a Charge of Discrimination, the Sheriff retaliated against Cp by taking his
badge and gun._.

investigation was largely based on testimony received from past and current
employees who reported similar treatment due to their Political Opinion/non-support of the
Sheriff. Testimony from the Sheriff?s political supporters was also considered-as well-as
evidence of verbal berating and intimidation of non-employees who had unfortunate encounters
with the Sheriff. OHR also substantiated that Sheriff James F. Fitzgerald made negative
comments, gestures, and/or derogatory epithets against African-Americans as well as other
employees, colleagues, citizens and/or Government of?cials in the workplace. Finally,
investigation did not establish that the Sheriff discriminated against Cp due to his age; rather,
investigation found that Cp was discriminated against and experienced severe and
pervasive workplace harassment due to his Political Opinion (he did not support Sheriff
Fitzgerald?s re-election) and Creed (treating others with dignity and respect at all times) to the I

point that he was constructively discharged.

Cp alleges that he was treated less favorably than those that supported the Sheriff?s
campaigns. He alleges that when the Sheriff learned that he no longer supported the Sheriff in
the 2010 election, the Sheriff harassed and intimidated him by use of threats, verbal abuse, less
desirable assignments and schedules, and other intimidating behavior, not becoming of an officer.
Cp alleges that his Creed is to treat others with civility and dignity and respect at all times and
alleges that the Sheriff rules with fear and terror in the workplace. Cp alleges that Sheriff

Page 2 of 48 Pages

Fitzgerald also treated him less favorably than younger employees by creating a hostile work
environment to get employees nearing retirement to leave early. Additionally, Cp alleges that
Sheriff Fitzgerald fuels the hostile environment, in demonstration of a Creed opposite to his, by
making derogatory comments, using racial epithets and slurs towards employees, colleagues,
citizens and other government of?cials who are female, black, gay, Asian, or Jewish. Next, Cp
alleges that the Sheriff selectively enforced General Orders against Cp and ordered Cp to return
his gun, badge, County?issued I.D., and cell phone because he reported the Sheriff?s abusive and
discriminatory behavior to others in command at the Sheriff?s Of?ce, County Administration and
Finally, Cp alleges that the abusive behavior of the Sheriff amounts to severe and/or
pervasive Workplace harassment and that the abuse became so severe, he had no choice but to

leave his employment; first on FMLA leave and later by opting for early retirement.

The Sheriff denies that he engaged in any discriminatory conduct toward Cp due to his

age, Political Opinion or Creed and/or that he created a hostile work environment for Cp. Sheriff
Fitzgerald admits that he reprimanded Cp on work related issues, but avers that it was nothing out
of the ordinary and that Cp acted childish when he did not return to work that day. The Sheriff
denied that he ever belittled, intimidated, threatened, verbally berated Cp or ever used profanity~
laced remarks against him. The Sheriff described himself as just ?a loud New Yorker.? Rp also
denied that he knew about Cp?s claims of abuse and/or discrimination so he could not have
retaliated against Cp by taking his badge and gun. Finally, Sheriff Fitzgerald avers that he has
never made negative comments, gestures, and/or derogatory epithets against African-Americans
in the workplace. Finally, the Sheriff stated that he has done much to bring the Sheriff?s Of?ce

?into the 215t Century? and has worked hard to increase diversity in the Of?ce.

A. Discrimination --Workplace Harassment - Political Opinion (did not support
Sheriff Fitzgerald?s re-election)
1. Cp alleges he is a member of a protected class: Political Opinion.
2. Cp alleges he was subjected to workplace harassment because, after Sheriff
James F. Fitzgerald found out that Cp did not support him for re-election, the
Sheriff engaged in spiteful, hateful, and/or malicious actions towards Cp and

created an unde?sirable'work schedule for Cp. Cp also alleges that the Sheriff

Page 3 of 48 Pages

habitually belittled, intimidated, threatened, and bullied him by the use of loud
and ongoing verbal berating and profanity-laced remarks.

Cp alleges he was subjected to a hostile work environment because Sheriff James
F. Fitzgerald made negative comments, gestures, and/or derogatory epithets
against female, black, gay, Asian or Jewish employees, colleagues, citizens
and/or Government of?cials in the workplace. Cp alleges these comments were
extremely offensive to Cp and also constituted conduct unbecoming a law
enforcement of?cer.

Cp alleges that Sheriff James F. Fitzgerald?s behavior toward Cp was severe

and/or pervasive.

B. Discrimination -- Workplace Harassment Creed (treating others with dignitv

and respect at all times)


Cp alleges he is a member of a protected class: Creed. A Creed is a system of
closely held beliefs that result in consistent and conforming actions in the life ?of
the person. Cp alleges his personal Creed is to treat other people with dignity and
respect at all times. Cp alleges that Sheriff James F. Fitzgerald does not agree
with his Creed and abused his power to create a hostile. work environment. I
Cp alleges he was subjected to workplace harassment because, after Sheriff
James F. Fitzgerald found out that Cp did not support him for re-election, the
Sheriff engaged in spiteful, hateful, and/or malicious actions towards Cp and
created an undesirable work schedule for Cp. Cp also alleged that the Sheriff
habitually belittled, intimidated, threatened, and bullied him by use of loud and
ongoing, verbal berating and profanity-laced remarks. I

Cp alleges he was subjected to a hostile work environment because Sheriff James

Fitzgerald made negative comments, gestures, and/0r derogatory epithets

against female, black, gay, Asian or Jewish employees, colleagues, citizens
and/or Government of?cials in the workplace. Cp alleges these comments were
extremely offensive to Cp and also constituted conduct unbecoming a law

enforcement officer.

Cp alleges that Sheriff James F. Fitzgerald?s behavior toward Cp was severe

and/or pervasive.

Page 4 of 48 Pages

C. Discrimination Disparate Treatment Age (64)


I Cp alleges he is a member of a protected class: Age (64).

Cp alleges he was quali?ed and performing the essential functions of his position
as a Lieutenant in the Sheriff?s Of?ce in charge of Field Operations.

Cp alleges that he was treated less favorably than similarly situated employees
(not in his protected class and in violation of the Howard County Code) because
he was nearing retirement. Cp alleges that Sheriff James F. Fitzgerald targeted

him with severe and/or pervasive harassment in an effort to get him to leave/retire


D. Discrimination Disparate Treatment Political Opinion and Creed


Cp alleges he is a member of two protected classes: Political Opinion and Creed.
Cp alleges he was quali?ed and performing the essential functions of his position
as a Lieutenant in the Sheriff?s Of?Ce. I

Cp alleges that he was treated less favorably than similarly situated employees,
who supported the Sherriff? re-election, when he was assigned retaliatory work
assignments, subjected to intimidation, bullying, and profanity.

Cp alleges that he was treated less favorably than similarly situated employees,
who supported the Sherriff? re-election, when Sheriff Fitzgerald selectively
enforced General Orders against him and took his gun and badge when he was

out on sick leave.

E. Discrimination Constructive Discharge


Cp alleges he was qualified and performing his job as a Lieutenant in the
Sheriff?s Office for Howard County, Maryland.
Cp alleges he is a member of three protected classes: Political Opinion (opposing
the Sheriff 3 re-election), Creed (treat other people with dignity and respect at all
times) and Age (64).

Cp alleges that beginning in 2010, he was subject to ongoing and severe and/or
pervasive workplace harassment based on his protected classes.

Cp alleges, on or about August 8, 2015, he had no choice but to go out on FMLA

. leave to escape the intolerable environment created by the Sheriff.

Cp alleges he had no choice but to resign his position and retire from the Sheriff?s

Of?ce on February 9, 2016.

Page 5 of 48 Pages


Retaliation for Engaging in a Protected Activityr

1. Cp alleges he is a member of three protected classes: Political Opinion (did not
support the Sheriff for re-election), Creed'(treat other people with dignity and
respect at all times) and Age (64).

2. Op alleges he was quali?ed and performing his job as a Lieutenant in the

Sheriff?s Of?ce for Howard County, Maryland.

3. Cp alleges he engaged in a protected activity when he complained about Sheriff

Fitzgerald? discriminatory treatment and a hostile work environment to Howard
County Government Of?cials, the Of?ce of the Maryland Attorney General and
OER in August, 2015.

4. Cp alleges that, after Sheriff James F. Fitzgerald found out about his protected

activity, he retaliated against Cp by taking away his police powers when he
ordered Cp to return his Sheriff?s issued vehicle, gun and badge and his County

issued I.D. while he was out on sick leave.

5. Cp alleges there was a causal connection between his protected acts and the

Sheriff? 3 decision to take his car, gun, badge and ID.



On July 1, 1998, Cp was hired as a Deputy Sheriff for the Howard County Sheriff?
Of?ce by then Sheriff Michael Chiuchiolo. He was in ?Acting Deputy? status until
his promotion to full Deputy Sheriff on January 7, 1999. -

On February 5, 2001, Cp was selected as Deputy of the Year.

On February 2002, Cp assumed the Acting Supeivisor position of the Criminal
Section under the direction of Sheriff Charles ?Chuck? Cave.

On October 21, 2002, Cp was promoted to the rank of Corporal Deputy Sheriff.

On or about December 15, 2002, Mr. Charles ?ChuCk? Cave was elected to become
the new Sheriff of Howard County, Maryland.

On January 10, 2005, Cp was promoted to Sergeant Deputy Sheriff.

In November, 2006, Mr. James F. Fitzgerald Was elected to become the new Sheriff
of Howard County Maryland, replacing Mr. Charles ?Chuck? Cave. He was sworn
into of?ce on December 15, 2006. Cp supported the Sheriff in his ?rst election


Page 6 of 48 Pages

On September 6, 2007, Cp became Acting Lieutenant in charge of Alternative

I Sentencing.

On January 7, 2008, Cp was promoted to Lieutenant Deputy Sheriff overseeing
Community Services, including Landlord/Tenant services.

On December 15, 2008, Sheriff Fitzgerald transferred Cp to command Court
Services at the Circuit Court. He replaced Lieutenant Donnie Knott, Jr. who was, by
the same order, transferred to command Community Services at the Dorsey

On Tuesday, November 2, 2010, Mr. James F. Fitzgerald was re?elected Sheriff. Cp
did not support the Sheriff?s second campaign.

On November 8, 2010, Sheriff Fitzgerald issued Personnel Order #10-18
transferring Cp to command Field Operations at the Dorsey Building. Lieutenant
Knott was sent back to command Court Services. The Sheriff also changed Cp?s
work schedule from Monday through Friday 8:00 am. to 4:00 pm. to Tuesday
through Friday 12:00 pm. to 8:00 pm. and Saturday 8:00 am. to 4:00 pm.

On November 11, 2010, following a deputy in?service meeting at the Court House,
Sheriff Fitzgerald handed out duty assignment/transfer notices to several deputies.
The majority of these transfers were given to deputies who did not support his re-

On December 14, 2010, Sheriff Fitzgerald was again sworn into office.

On or about December 2013, the Domestic Violence unit began a limited 24-hour
schedule providing 24-hour Deputy coverage, except weekends and holidays.1

On January 20, 2014, Sheriff Fitzgerald issued Personnel Order #1403 requiring Cp
. to assume charge of the prOperty room formerly commanded by Lieutenant Carroll
Roles. Cp?s schedule was changed back to day shift.
On November 30, 2014, the Domestic Violence unit began to operate 24/7 including
weekends and holidays.2

On August 7, 2015, in an extended verbal encounter, Sheriff Fitzgerald yelled at Cp
over a scheduling decision. Cp complained about the abusive work environment to
Major George Vol], the Sheriffs second in command.

On August 7, 2015, Cp applied for, and was granted, FMLA leave.

1 Supervisor coverage for the Domestic Violence unit extended until 11:00 pm. during the weekdays. On-call
supervisors were engaged for off duty hours. The Deputy roster increased from eight (8) Deputies to ten (10).
During this time, all warrants were placed in a bag and returned to the Police Department for handling during
weekends and holidays.

2 The Deputy roster increased from ten (10) Deputies to (11) by January 2015.

Page 7 of 48 Pages

T. On August 10, 2015, Cp was referred to OHR. In the days following, Cp continued
to complain about discrimination and the hostile work environment he had
experienced to Howard County?s Human Resources Department, Howard County
Administration Personnel, and several coworkers at the Sheriff1 3 department. Cp
also requested meetings with OHR in order to ?le a Charge of Employment

. Discrimination against Sheriff Fitzgerald. .

U. On August 22, 2015, Cp was diagnosed with PostuTraumatic Stress Disorder
(PTSD). His doctor attributed his diagnosis to the treatment he received at the hands
of Sheriff James F. Fitzgerald.

V. On September 17, 2015, Sheriff Fitzgerald ordered Cp to return his Sheriff? 5 I.D.,
gun, badge, and cell phone.

W. On September 18, 2015, Cp ?led his Charge of Discrimination with OHR.

X. On October 14, 2015, Administrator authorized the Charge for investigation.


General Allegation: I am currently a lieutenant in the Howard County Sheriff?s of?ce. I have

worked as a deputy in the Sheriffs Of?ce since 1998. The current Howard County Sheriff is
James F. Fitzgerald. He was most recently elected as Sheriff in November 2014. This is his third
term as Sheriff. He is in charge of the Sheriff?s Of?ce and has the right/authority to hire, assign,
discipline and terminate both civilian and sworn employees.
General Finding: OHR substantiated these allegations.

First, investigation substantiated that Cp began his career in law enforcement on
March 17, 1973 at the Baltimore Police Academy. Lieutenant Gable worked as an officer for the
Howard County Police Department for 23 1/2 years. Immediately before his retirement from 1
Howard County Police Department, on June 30, 1998, he held the position of Police Of?cer First
Class. During his 23 1/2 year career, he received promotions and numerous awards and citations,
including the 1993 Baltimore Sun Police Of?cer of the Year for Community Service. Cp began
his second career as a Deputy with the Sheriff?s Of?ce on July 1, 1998. During his 17 years with
the Sheriff?s Of?ce, Cp served as a Deputy, Corporal, Sergeant, and a Lieutenant. He received
several paid promotions and many unpaid awards: he was nominated three times for ?Deputy of
the Year? and was successfully selected once. At the time Cp ?led his Charge with OHR, Cp
was the third in command at the Sheriff?s Of?ce. In an interview with investigator, Cp

testi?ed as to why he left the of?ce on August 7, 2015 as follows:

Page 8 of 48 Pages

?During my 42 year career, I have worked for numerous ?rst line supervisors,
commanders, police chiefs, special agents in charge, and Sheriffs. Everyone has treated
me with dignity and respect except for Sheriff James F. Fitzgerald. He has become the
poster child for bigotry, bullying and temper tantrums. The venom that spews from this
man?s mouth is abhorrent. I could no longer work for this man.?

Second, investigation substantiated that James F. Fitzgerald has successfully been
elected Howard County Sheriff three times. He was most recently elected Sheriff in November
2014. However, the evidence showed that Sheriff Fitzgerald failed to report to the Clerk of the
Circuit Court (as he had done in the previous two elections) to be sworn into of?ce after histhird

Third, investigation substantiated that Sheriff Fitzgerald makes all employment
decisions (hiring, ?ring and promotions) at the Sheriff?s Of?ce. He also has the power (in his
sole/absolute discretion) to assign new and/or additional duties, re-assign duties and

responsibilities, make transfer decisions, require schedule changes and otherwise exact discipline

for both civilian and sworn employees in the office. See also Findings 1 through 4 herein.

Discrimination Allegation: I believe that I am being discriminated against, based on my age

(64), Political Opinion, and Creed with regard to harassment, terms and conditions of

employment, and retaliation, which is a violation-of Section 12.208 of the Howard County Code.

I believe this because:

Discrimination Finding: OHR substantiated these allegations in part but not as a whole.
OI-IR substantiated that Cp was discriminated against and experienced severe and/or

pervasive workplace harassment by Sheriff Fitzgerald based on Cp?s Political Opinion and

Creed. OHR also found that Cp was constructively discharged from his position due to the severe

and pervasive harassment by Sheriff Fitzgerald and that Sheriff Fitzgerald retaliated against Cp

for complaining about discrimination to OHR and Howard County Government of?cials.

investigation was unable to substantiate that was discriminated against, due to his age

(64). See also Findings 1 through 4 herein.

3 John McMahon, who lost the general race by nearly 13,000 votes, ?led suit in the Circuit Court for Howard
County (Civil Case No: against Clerk of the Court, Wayne Robey on June 13, 2016. Mr.
McMahon alleged that because Sheriff Fitzgerald failed to take an oath of of?ce required by the state
constitution in 2014 and does not permanently live in the county, Sheriff Fitzgerald is made ineligible for the
position he now holds. investigator continued with the Circuit Court Clerk, that Sheriff Fitzgerald has
never been sworn in a?er the 2014 election. Moreover, because the commission issued by the Governor has
expired, the Clerk no longer has authority to execute this Administrative act.

Page 9 of 48 Pages

All_egation Number 1: Since 2010 when the Sheriff learned that I no longer supported him for
Sheriff in the election, he has harassed and intimidated me and others'by threats, verbal abuse,
less desirable assignments and schedules, and other intimidating behavior, not becoming of an

Finding Number 1: investigation substantiated these allegations.

In an interview with investigator, Sheriff Fitzgerald denied knowing who
supported him in any election, and therefore, denied that he exacted punishment upon those who
did not supp01t him. He told investigator: don?t go around the of?ce to ?nd out who
supported [sic] me because I?m more concerned with getting endorsements from the Fraternal
Order of Police (FOP) and other [law enforcement stakeholders].? He also said that the FOP
voted to support him in each of his elections. -

In order to determine whether or not Sheriff Fitzgerald began to intimidate and harass Cp
because he did not support his second election, investigator interviewed over 35
- witnesses comprising present and past employees of the Sheriff?s Of?ce and a few who had not
worked for the Sheriff but had complaints about his behaviors. Several of the current employees
refused to speak with investigator. One witness advised investigator that: ?The
people that still work there are going to have a hard time talking to you; they have a gag order on
them. It?s not written but it?s implied.? Another former employee did not want to discuss the
working environment they experienced before resigning from the office because they had ?nally
been able to put it behind them. Nevertheless, the witness implored investigator to:
?Listen to what is said by the people that work there, because it?s all true! He?s gotten away with
it his whole career!?

As a result of these interviews, investigator was able to substantiate that Sheriff
Fitzgerald systematically discriminated against Cp because he did not support the Sheriff?s
second political campaign. Sheriff Fitzgerald did this by manipulating job assignments and
schedules, intimidating, bullying and verbally abusing his subordinates. He also systematically
promoted those who actively supported his political campaigns; irrespective of their work ethic,
special training, and/or experience. Once Sheriff Fitzgerald found out that Cp no longer
supported his political campaign, Sheriff Fitzgerald created a hostile work environment for Cp.
The tactics Sheriff Fitzgerald used against him and others who did not support his political

campaign are outlined herein.

Page 10 of 48 Pages

Tactic One manipulation of iob assignments and schedules.

investigation substantiated that Sheriff Fitzgerald manipulated job assignments
and schedules as a way to ?punish? someone who did not support his political campaign. The
?rst time he did this was in 2006, immediately after his ?rst election. Several witnesses
described the Sheriff?s unfair treatment of Deputy Nancy Shah. Prior to Sheriff Fitzgerald?s first
election, Deputy Shah worked closely with Sheriff ?Chuck? Cave and his second in command,
Major Scott Mergenthaler. She also worked in the Landlord/Tenant division and was reputed to
be one of four (4) top experts in processing Landlord/Tenant Writs within the State of Maryland.
Deputy Shah did not wish to speak with investigator but did report that she did not
support Sheriff Cave?s re-election and she also did not support Sheriff Fitzgerald; she said she
was only loyal to the of?ce and herjob. Several witnesses, however, revealed that this was not a
good position for Deputy Shah. They told investigator: ?If you are not with the Sheriff
you are against him; he will get back at you.?

The circumstances and timing of events immediately after his ?rst election indicate that
Sheriff Fitzgerald most likely believed that Deputy Shah supported Sheriff Cave in 2006. The
campaign was described as very bitter. The animosity between Sheriff Cave and Sheriff
Fitzgerald was demonstrated by Sheriff Fitzgerald when he reported to investigator that
Sheriff Cave and Major Mergenthaler ?wiped out the computers? and he had to rebuild the office
forms and procedures ?from scratch.? Perhaps the Sheriff associated this alleged action with
Deputy Shah. Deputy Shah denied knowing whether or not Sheriff Cave and Major
Mergenthaler erased ?les. In any event, the evidence showed that on December 15, 2006 just
three (3) hours prior to the time that Sheriff Fitzgerald was to be sworn in to his of?ce for the
?rst time, Deputy Shah was ordered, without notice or explanation, to vacate the of?ce she had
been working in. According to witnesses, Deputy Shah complied with the order and, because she
was not given another of?ce/desk, she placed her boxed belongings in the hallway and continued
to complete her Landlord/Tenant assignments by ?oating from one unoccupied desk to another.
Witnesses testi?ed that Deputy Shah?s boxes remained in the hall for several months until she
was eventually assigned a desk of her own in the Landlord/Tenant unit. investigator
found this treatment especially troubling because the of?ce she was forced to vacate was not
occupied for over three (3) months; when Sheriff Fitzgerald hired Tom Harding as a Corporal on

March 1, 2007. Corporal Harding is a supporter of the Sheriff and was reported to be the

Page 11 of 48 Pages

4 Corporal Harding commands the

Sheriff?s ?campaign manager? during the ?rst election.
Quartermaster/Fleet K-9 unit. Even though the Sheriff decided there would be no more ?ex time.
at the Office shortly after his ?rst election, Corporal Harding reportedly still receives it.

Another instance of manipulating assignments occurred after Sheriff Fitzgerald?s ?rst
election involved Lieutenant Donnie Knott, Jr. According to, Lieutenant Knott: ?It was clear to
me that Sheriff Fitzgerald wanted me 'out because I never supported him. I supported Cave all
the way. IknewI was on the outs with Fitz for the ?rst two elections.? Lieutenant Knott, who
had been the Commander at the Court House for several years, was transferred to oversee
Community Services at the Dorsey Building on December 15, 2008 (the position Cp-was
commanding at the time). During this time, there were rumors among sworn personnel that the
Community Services division was going to be dissolved; Lieutenant Knott said that the Sheriff
hoped that, by pulling him over to work for Community Services, he would be eliminated along
with the Community Services. Lieutenant Knott told investigator that when he asked
Sheriff Fitzgerald if Community Services was being dissolved, the Sheriff denied it; ?He outright
lied to me!? When Community Services was dissolved, however, Lieutenant Knott did not lose
his job; primarily because he had contractual protections. Thereafter, Lieutenant Knott assumed
command of the Warrants and Landlord Tenant divisions and eventually became commander of
Field Operations in the Dorsey Building. Lieutenant Knott described Sheriff Fitzgerald to
investigator as follows: ?He can be a bully and also very intimidating. He thought he
could push me around in ways he shouldn?t have. He did the same thing with Charlie [Cp] as he

did to me.?

During this time, Cp (who had supported the Sheriff in the ?rst election) was promoted to
Lieutenant and was assigned to command the Court House in Lieutenant Knott?s place.
However, when Sheriff Fitzgerald ran for office the second time (in 2010), Cp no longer
supported him. Cp told investigator he did not support the opponent and hoped to remain
neutral. The evidence showed that, immediately after the Sheriff?s second election, Lieutenant

Knott was transferred back to the Court House and Cp was transferred back to the Dorsey

4 Sheriff Fitzgerald later transferred Deputy Shah out of the Landlord/Tenant unit to work at the Court House.
Several witnesses testi?ed that this is a common practice when the Sheriff wishes to retaliate against or
?punish? those who do not support his political campaign(s). One witness stated about Deputy Shah?s transfer:
?Why would you take someoneIShah] who is an expert in their ?eld [landlord/tenant] and put them in a court
room?!? Many witnesses also testi?ed that Sheriff Fitzgerald tended to reward his supporters by assigning them
to the Dorsey Building. At least two witnesses told investigator that Sheriff characterized those working
at the Dorsey Building as his ?best?, staff. One witness said some even refer to the Court House as the ?land of
mis?ts.? Virtually every witness reported that those that work at the Court House do not have much interaction
with the Sheriff as he does not even attend regularly scheduled roll call meetings there. In fact, most witnesses
agree that the Sheriff is rarely found in the office on Fridays and Mondays; instead spending time at his home at
the beach.

Page 12 of 48 Pages

Building to assume command of Field Operations. When investigator asked Lieutenant
Knott why he was transferred back to the Court House in 2010, he explained: ?at that point, I
was the lesser of two evils.? Lieutenant Knott reported that shortly after his return to the Court
House, he was called down to the Dorsey Building to discuss overtime issues and scheduling. He
told investigator, however, the real reason he Was called over was because Sheriff
Fitzgerald: ?Just wanted to rip me a new onefor not supporting him in the [second] election.
He knew Ididn?t support him. When he questioned my integrity, even calling me a liar, I didn?t
back down.? Lieutenant Knott reported that since that encounter in 2010: ?My relationship with
the Sheriff is now somewhat respectful, I don?t think the Sheriff would try to retaliate against me
at this point because I?m in a different position than most everyone else here; I don?t need this
job and he knows it.?5

Another sworn employee who felt that he was targeted by the Sheriff, via work
assignment and scheduling (also due to Political Opinion) was Deputy Robert Collins. Deputy
Collins worked for the Sheriff?s Office from 2000 to 2014. In 2009, Deputy Collins was the POP
president and was assigned to the Warrants unit. Witnesses reported that in Spring 2009, Deputy
Collins stood before the FOP membership and voiced aloud that he could not, in good-
conscience, support Sheriff Fitzgerald for re?election. Following this, on or about August 2,
2009, Deputy Collins accessed I-LEADS, (an internal Howard County Law enforcement data
base) to ?nd information on an incident involving another Deputy. Deputy Collins claimed he
was properly curious about the incident as it may involve FOP leadership in responding to the
needs of one of its members. Several witnesses testi?ed that the use of is not
controlled and no' training had, or has since, been offered that would limit its use for this
purpose. . ..0ne witness even reported that he used it to ?nd out why a police cruiser was called to
a house near his residence. Lieutenant Knott, who was Deputy Clollins? supervisor at the time,
said: told Bobby [Deputy Collins] to leave it [wanting to be informed about incident with the,
other deputy] alone and he didn?t. He checked it out on I-LEADS. It was stupid! Everyone
knows the type of individual we work for why make it easy for him to go after you! Bobby
made it easy for Sheriff to go after him.? According to Deputy Collins, approximately two (2)
months after he accessed the report on his computer privileges were suspended and he
was reassigned to the Court House.

Deputy Collins reported that the following March (2010) he and the newly appointed
FOP president, Deputy Ed Simmons (reputed to be a supporter of the Sheriff), had an argument

5 The third Lieutenant in the Of?ce, Lieutenant Carroll Roles, continued to command Administrative Services
at the Dorsey Building. He was a supporter of the Sheriff in during the first two campaigns.

Page 13 of 48 Pages

over the ballot procedure. Apparently, for the first time, each ballot had a number that had been
assigned to an FOP member (each sworn officer is a member of the FOP). Deputy Collins
objected to this and told the members to take a permanent marker and block out the number so
the FOP Leadership/Sheriff would not have the ability to track the secret ballot back to the voter;
his concern was to protect FOP members from retaliation. Interestingly, immediately after this
incident, Deputy Collins was transferred back down to the Dorsey Building. Deputy Collins
said: ?Sheriff didn?t want me anywhere near the Court House during the election that year.? Of
peculiar interest to investigator, and evidence that Deputy Collins was subjected to
retaliatory assignments due to his political opinion, Sheriff Fitzgerald never gave any assignment
to Deputy Collins after he was returned to the Dorsey Building. Deputy Collins was placed on
suspension and made to sit at a desk, without receiving any assignments for over eight (8)
months; Deputy Collins was paid to read novels this entire time. What is even more troubling is
that Sheriff Fitzgerald (on November 18, 2010) assigned Deputy Collins to work at the Howard
County Detention Center on a ?limited duty status? even though the Sheriff" 3 Of?ce has no
jurisdiction, authority, or working relationship with the Detention Center. Deputy Collins was
only there ?ve (5) days before he was returned to the Dorsey Building. During this time, Deputy
Collins was investigated for his use of I-LEADS and eventually he was served with formal
charges approximately 16 months after he conducted the ?inappropriate? search on
Deputy Collins told investigator that, after several witnesses were subpoenaed to testify at
the upcoming Trial Board, a plea agreement was reached wherein he agreed to 30 days? unpaid
suspension. Lieutenant Knott also testi?ed about the charges brought against Deputy Collins.
He said: ?i told Sheriff that I didn?t agree with Collins? charges. The fact is there are no controls
on Lieutenant Knott continued: don?t think the Trial Board would have ?red
Deputy Collins, but Sheriff Fitzgerald can override the Trial Board.? When Deputy Collins was
?nally reinstated in 2010, he was assigned back to the Warrants unit?
The evidence showed that Deputy Collins was administratively suspended for misuse of
his computer in conducting an I-LEADS search that Deputies commonly use to ?nd information
about incidents in Howard County. He was not given any training or counselling affecting that
use. OHR ?nds that the use of I-LEADS was merely a pretext on the part of the Sheriff to in?ict
harm on a political detractor. Further evidence of the Sheriff?s vindictiveness concerning Deputy

Collins is shown by the fact that he was ostracized from working in any unit; he was made to sit

6 The charges ranged from ?conduct unbecoming? to ?violation of Howard County Government Policy.? They
all related solely to Deputy Collins? alleged misuse of on August 3, 2009.

7 Deputy Collins was suspended of all Police Powers on September 26, 2014 for events unrelated to the I-
LEADS investigation discussed above. Mr. Collins alleged that he continued to be harassed by the Sheriff until
he retired on November 1, 2014.

Page 14 of 48 Pages

at a desk all day and was not given other assignments (such as serving warrants or being at the
Court House) that could have been carried out without the use of a computer. The above
evidence shows that as soon as Deputy Collins made his political opinion known, Sheriff
Fitzgerald retaliated against him. These events also support Cp?s assertion that Sheriff Fitzgerald
assigned less desirable duties to his political detractors.

Other evidence shOwing a pattern of harassment/retaliation based on Political Opinion
occurred at a Deputy in-service training meeting held on November 11, 2010, shortly after the
Sheriff was elected the second time. At the conclusion of this meeting, witnesses reported that
Sheriff Fitzgerald personally handed out transfer orders to Deputies that did not contribute to his
campaign, place signs in yards and polling places and otherwise promote the Sheriff?s re-
election.8 According to records obtained by investigator, the following Deputies received
a ?transfer? that day:

a Deputy Bernie McGuirk: transferred from Patrol to Transport at the Court House.

0 Deputy George Chriest: transferred from Transport to Patrol at the Court House.

0 Deputy John Marsili: transferred from Warrants to Domestic Violence unit, midnight
shift, at the Dorsey Building.

0 Deputy Dave Manning: transferred from Warrants at Dorsey Building to the Patrol unit
at the Court House. .

0 Deputy Robert Gaskins: transferred from Patrol at Court House to Warrants at the
Dorsey Building.

0 Deputy Lashon Green: transferred from Domestic Violence to Warrants at the Dorsey

In an interview with investigator, Sheriff Fitzgerald said that he made these
transfers because the Deputies had ?been in their positions too long.? These transfers
contradicted the Sheriff?s own testimony, however, because he also told investigator that:
?When they ask for a transfer, 95% of the time I agree.? In the same interview, Sheriff Fitzgerald
again seemed to contradict himself when he also told investigator that he didn?t regularly
make staf?ng assignments. He said: don?t manage the office day to day, Major [George] Voll

However, Major Voll did not corroborate the Sheriff?s alleged ?hands off? management
style when he told investigator that: ?Everything [including staffing and work
assignments] is done in consultation with the Sheriff.? Important to investigation is the
fact that the first four Deputies involuntarily transferred after the in?service meeting (along with
Lieutenant Knott, Cp and Deputy Collins) did not support the Sheriff?s reelection; and everyone

knew it. Deputy Gaskins? and Deputy Green?s transfers were not seen as retaliatory; someone

3 At least two (2) witnesses reported that Sheriff Fitzgerald referred to several of these men as ?cancers? he
needed to get rid of.

Page 15 of 48 Pages

had to be assigned to the vacated positions at the Dorsey Building. Even more important,
however, is the way in which Sheriff Fitzgerald opted to effectuate the transfers. Rather than
follow past practice by consulting with each Deputy privately, Sheriff Fitzgerald elected to send a
message by making these assignments in a public setting. Several witnesses said: ?We all knew
he was getting back at us for not supporting his re-eleetion.? There was also no evidence that
these Deputies were in their positions any longer than others who had supported the Sheriff?s
second campaign. Lieutenant Knott said Sheriff Fitzgerald told him there were ?ve (5) ?cancers?
in the Of?ce and Deputy McGuirk was one of them. investigator spoke with each of.
these Deputies; their experiences follow. 1

Deputy McGuirk worked with the Sheriff?s Of?ce from 1998 to 2010 and had been
assigned to the Court House for the first four (4) years of Sheriff Fitzgerald?s tenure. Prior to
that, he worked for the Baltimore County Police Department for 22 years. Deputy McGuirk
openly supported Sheriff Cave in 2006; he also did not support Sheriff Fitzgerald?s re-election in
2010. Deputy McGuirk testi?ed that Sheriff Fitzgerald transferred him to Transport that day in
order to ?get back? at him for not supporting his campaigns. Interestingly, the person that was
assigned to Deputy McGuirk?s position, Deputy Chriest, allegedly did not want a change in his
position either. I

Deputy McGuirk told investigator that he ?knew? that the transfers handed out on
November 11, 2010, were ?purer vindictive.? He said that Sheriff Fitzgerald: ?Really began
screwing with everyone in his second term, and, because I was one of those who didn?t support
him, he began to really mess with me.? 9 Deputy McGuirk advised: ?If you don?t actively
support him, he?s out to get you. And, he gets away with Rather than accept
the transfer imposed on him at the in-service, Deputy McGuirk opted to resign on December 3,
2010. He told investigator that his health was more important than continuing to work
for Sheriff Fitzgerald. He told Maj or Vol] that he was resigning because: ?I?m not eating
another One of the Sheriff?s shit sandwiches.? In an interesting move, a?er Deputy McGuirk

submitted his resignation, Sheriff Fitzgerald formally wrote Deputy McGuirk up for

9 Interestingly, both Sheriff Fitzgerald and Deputy McGuirk recounted the same incident to investigator
citing the reason for their mutual animosity. Apparently some 20 years earlier, Sheriff Fitzgerald (who was
working for the Howard County Police Department at the time) was transporting a prisoner to Baltimore
County. When he arrived with the prisoner, Deputy McGuirk said he told Fitzgerald to use the appropriate
(non-public) door. He said that ?Officer? Fitzgerald knew he was not following procedure and wanted special
treatment; Fitzgerald became belligerent and demanded that McGuirk process the prisoner. McGuirk did not
capitulate to his bullying. Fitzgerald alleged it-was McGuirk who refused to process the prisoner because he
was ?too busy.? Fitzgerald told OHR's investigator: ?led a complaint against McGuirk and McGuirk told
me it was the only complaint ?led against him in his 25-year career at the Baltimore County Police Department
and he held it against me.? McGuirk said Of?cer/Sheriff Fitzgerald never forgot that he was not allowed to
have his way when he brought the prisoner over; and he didn't like McGuirk for it.

Page 16 of 48 Pages

?misconduct.? Sheriff Fitzgerald sent Sergeant Darrin Granger to reprimand Deputy McGuirk
and to have him sign the write-up; Deputy McGuirk refused. This post-resignation maneuver
evidences the breadth of the Sherist vindictive behavior when it comes to those who do not
support his campaigns. This write-up was the only one ever ?led against Deputy McGuirk while
he worked for the Sheriff 5 Of?ce. Deputy McGuirk?s ?nal Personnel Order (#10-31) dated
December 20, 2010, was signed by the Sheriff and Major Voll; it was also sent to Maryland
Police andCorrectional Training Commission10 Training Coordinator, Corporal Mark
Verderaime. It states: ?At the time of his resignation, Deputy McGuirk was under investigation.
His IAD case (#10-005) is ?Administratively Closed Under Investigation.?

investigator wondered: ?Why would the Sheriff reprimand Deputy McGuirk after
he had already resigned?? Answer: because under the a law enforcement of?cer has
three (3) years to obtain anotherjob in law enforcement before they are required to re-take and
pass certi?cation, testing, and/01? training. If, however, an of?cer leaves ?under
prejudice? (meaning there are charges/investigations ?led against him at the time he separates),
the of?cer?s ?le/blue certi?cation card is ??agged.? At this point, if Deputy McGuirk were to
apply to another law enforcement agency (and should a law enforcement agency wish to hire him
even though his credentials are ?suspect?), he must request to have a hearing where he will be
requiredto defend/explain the alleged misconduct before he can be successfully placed in his
next law enforcement job. Knowing this procedure, Deputy McGuirk testi?ed that he did not
apply for anotherjob in law enforcement. Instead, he deferred his accumulated retirement funds
until he attains age 62 (June 2017). Deputy McGuirk told investigator: would have
gladly stayed another four (4) years to complete my years of service before retirement, except I
could no longer work for Sheriff Fitzgerald.? Deputy McGuirk lost four (4) years? pay and
commensurate increases to his retirement fund. The evidence suggests that Deputy McGuirk was
forced out of his job by the Sheriff based on his Political Opinion. Deputy McGuirk also testi?ed
that he felt Deputy Collins was also wrongly forced out by Sheriff Fitzgerald for net supporting
his .

Another person who received a transfer order on November 11, 2010, was Deputy

George Chriest. The evidence showed that Deputy Chriest worked for the Baltimore City Police

1? The Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commissions are the primary providers of correctional
entrance level, and mandated police and correctional administrator, supervisor and instructor training in
Maryland. It is statutorily vested with the authority to set standards of initial selection and training for all
governmental law enforcement, correctional and parole and probation and juvenile justice officers in entire the
State of Maryland.

11 Another witness told investigator that Sheriff Fitzgerald ??agged? Deputy Collins? blue card
when he resigned, even though he promised not to. S/he felt that Collins was also forced out.

Page 17 of 48 Pages

Department for 27 years before coming to the Sheriff?s of?ce. He arrived at the Of?ce
approximately seven (7) years before Sheriff Fitzgerald was elected the ?rst time. After the in-
service meeting, Deputy Chriest was assigned to the position formerly held by Deputy McGuirk.
Neither Deputy Chriest nor Deputy McGuirk wanted to switch positions nor had they been
counselled for any performance issues prior to the transfer. Other Deputies holding positions in
units the same or longer, were not also transferred. Witnesses testi?ed that Deputy Chriest did -
not support the Sheriff in 2006 and 2010.

Deputy John Marsili did not support Sheriff Fitzgerald?s campaign in 2010 and was
transferred from Warrants to the midnight shift for the Domestic Violence unit on November 11,
2010. He was Deputy Collins? partner in Warrants. Witnesses reported that Sheriff Fitzgerald
likely retaliated against Deputy Marsili due to his Political Opinion and/or association with
Deputy Collins, a known political detractor.

Deputy David Manning was also transferred on November 11, 2010. He allegedly did
not support either candidate in the election; Fitzgerald knew it. One account, demonstrating how
the Sheriff treats those who do not support him, occurred shortly after the election when Deputy
Manning and others were conducting ?honor guard? duty. Sheriff Fitzgerald greeted each
member of the detail except Deputy Manning. Sergeant Matthew Ware, who was also on duty,
remarked: ?Damn! That was blatant!?12

'Another person affected by a retaliatory transfer was Corporal Mike Hajak. Corporal
Hajak did not consent to speak. with investigator. However, the record evidence showed
that he was?transferred from the Warrant/Fugitive unit on January 3, 2011 and assumed a new
position as a Duty Of?cer at the Court House. His hours were to be 12:00 noon to 8:00 pm.
Monday through Friday. Other witnesses couldn?t understand why he was transferred to the
Court House as he was an ?excellent? performer in Warrants. It appears that Corporal Haj ek was
moved because the Sheriff wanted to reward one of his campaign supporters, Deputy Mark

Verderaime, by promoting him to supervise the Warrants unit on August 15, 2011.

12 This type of ?dismissive? behavior on the part of Sheriff Fitzgerald was not limited to Deputy Manning.
Apparently, Sheriff Fitzgerald often stops speaking to those who he does not care for. Ms. Shannon Turc
reported that he made it a point to NOT speak to her for the three weeks after she submitted her resignation in
2015. Mr. McGuirk said that Sheriff refused to accept his resignatidn in person or execute the post-resignation
write up. Another witness, who gave three weeks' notice of his intent to resign, was told by Sergeant Granger
'that the Sheriff had accepted his resignation immediately. When they asked to speak with the Sheriff about why
they had to leave before the three weeks was over, the Sheriff refused. This witness said: ?the Sheriff was not
pleased when I left; that was the first time I saw that side of him.? Another employee, Ms. Pat Stephens,
(Administrative Assistant to the Sheriff) has been ignored by the Sheriff for years; witnesses are uncertain why
the Sheriff has chosen to ostra cize her and why he moved her down the hall from his of?ce. Ms. Stephens
declined an interview with investigator. .

Page 18 of 48 Pages

Complainant?s Speci?c Allegations-

As set forth earlier, Cp supported the Sheriff during his ?rst election and was promoted to
Lieutenant on January 15, 2008. He was assigned to command Community Operations. On
December 15, 2008, Sheriff Fitzgerald transferred Cp to the Court House. At this point, Cp had
not yet voiced his opposition to the Sheriff?s re?election. In an interview with
investigator, Sheriff Fitzgerald testi?ed that he decided to move Cp to the Court House because
he wanted to groom him to become a ?Captain? when the County approved funding for a
Captain?s position.l3 Cp was the Commander of Court Services and his office was at the Court
House when the Sheriff was re-elected approximately two (2) years later.

In an interview with investigator, Cp reported that he regretted supporting the
Sheriff in 2006, largely due to the way he treated other people and administered affairs in the
of?ce after he was elected.14 There is no dispute that Cp did not support Sheriff Fitzgerald?s re-
election in 2010, because, unlike the 2006 election, Cp did not donate to the Sheriff?s campaign,
place a sign in his yard or work any of the polling places on his behalf. It would seem that
Sheriff Fitzgerald became even angrier with Cp than he had been with Lieutenant Knott, perhaps
because Cp was now viewed as a traitor. In any event, the evidence shows that Sheriff Fitzgerald
I exacted revenge for Cp?s change in his Political Opinion because, just two days after the second
election (November 5, 2010) and only 6 days before the infamous in?service meeting, Cp
reported that he was called into the Sheriff?s Of?ce for a talk. Cp testi?ed that upon his arrival,
the Sheriff was upset, ?ushed, and red in his face. The Sheriff immediately began yelling at Cp
saying: know everything you have been telling people down at the Court House and I
FUCKING APPRECIATE Cp was then transferred back to the Dorsey Building, effective
November 8, 2010.

In his interview with investigator, Sheriff Fitzgerald denied that he transferred Cp
back to Dorsey as a punishment for not supporting his second run for of?ce (or as Lieutenant
Knott suggested, because he was now the greater of two evils). The Sheriff stated it was because
Cp was unable to command the Court House effectively. Both Sheriff Fitzgerald and Major Voll
described Cp as very good at commanding Field Operations but that he was a ?disaster? at the
Court House. As proof of Cp?s alleged incompetence, Sheriff Fitzgerald and Major Voll testi?ed
that, when Cp was at the Court House, he routinely called Major Vol] ?2 or 3 times each day
asking how to do his jobl? Sheriff Fitzgerald said that ?Charlie [Cp] would even call if the

13 investigator consulted with budget and HR personnel with Howard County to detelmine if Sheriff
Fitzgerald had ever requested funding and/or a job position for a Captain. All reported that they have never had

such a request from the Sheriff.
'4 Many witnesses told investigator that they regretted supporting the Sheriff in 2006 for this reason.

Page 19 of 48 Pages

bathrooms were leaking!? Yet, neither Sheriff nor Maj or Voll formally corrected Cp about his
work or wrote Cp up for this alleged incompetence. Cp?s personnel ?le is devoid of any
corrective action; he continued to receive positive evaluations and merit increases throughout his
entire career, With the exception of Sheriff Fitzgerald and Maj or Vol], all witnesses who had
worked with Cp and who were interviewed by investigator, stated that Cp was a very
intelligent and competent Court House commander. Moreover, all witnesses who knew Cp,
(even Major V011 and the rest of Fitzgerald?s ?supporters?) testi?ed that Cp was ?absoiutely?
truthful. OHR ?nds that the reasons provided by Sheriff Fitzgerald and Major V011 in deciding
to move Cp to the Dorsey Building are mere pretext; the real motivation for the transfer was to
punish Cp for the change in his Political Opinion.

Lieutenant Knott was, without exception, also described by witnesses (including Sheriff
Fitzgerald and Major V011) as an individual with unquestionably high ethics and integrity at the
Sheriff?s Of?ce. When investigator asked Lieutenant Knott why Cp was transferred back
to the Dorsey Building after the 2010 election, Lieutenant Knott testi?ed that: ?There is no doubt
in my mind that it [taking Cp out of command at the Court House] was punitive for Charlie [Cp]
because he did not support the Sheriff in the re-election.? Lieutenant Knott also said that Sheriff
Fitzgerald didn?t like comments he?d heard Cp make and he was not happy with the way Cp was
running the Court House. He said that there was ?a huge communication issue? between Cp and
Sheriff Fitzgerald at this point.

Cp?s reassignment to Field Operations was accompanied by one important twist: instead
of working Monday through Friday 8:00 am. to 4:00 pm. (as had the prior commander,
Lieutenant Knott), the Sheriff changed Cp?s hours to Tuesday through Friday from 12:00 pm. to
8:00 pm. and Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 pm. As further ?punishment,? Cp alleged that he
was assigned to a ?closet? of?ce in the Dorsey Building. Cp testi?ed that when they met on
November 5, 2010, the Sheriff also told him to begin reporting to Sergeant Darrin Granger 15
each day and that he also ordered him to resign from his position as FOP Secretary and
Treasurer.16 After the ?tirade,? ?Cp said that Sheriff Fitzgerald yelled at Cp to: THE FUCK
OUT OF MY Up until this moment, no Commander had ever been regularly
scheduled to work an evening shift. Lieutenant Knott and many others testi?ed that it was

ridiculous to have Cp, the Commander of Field Operations work Saturdays because he missed the

5 Sergeant Granger was hired primarily to conduct internal investigations. Shortly after his arrival, the Sheriff
publicly advised the Of?ce that Sergeant Granger would ?speak for the Sherif OHR is uncertain why the
Sheriff opted to have his Lieutenant report to a Sergeant.

16 At this point, most witnesses agreed that the Sheriff ran the FOP. Mr. John Newnan, who ran against the
Sheriff in 2014, told investigator that the FOP president and some members took notes of his
presentation before the members and gave it to Sheriff Fitzgerald to prepare his responsive remarks; thus giving
him an unfair advantage in the campaign.

Page 20 of 48 Pages

weekend review each Monday. Cp often referred to his new schedule as ?purgatory? yet, he
persevered for approximately four (4) years in this position/schedule. Noticeably, the most
recent (interim) commander of Field Operations, Lieutenant Granger (who was promoted to
Lieutenant and assigned to command Field Operations on October 28, 2015), and the newly
promoted Lieutenant Matthew Ware (August 2016) were also only scheduled to work the day
shift, Monday through Friday. I

For his part, Sheriff Fitzgerald told investigator that he assigned Cp this schedule
when he realized that civilian employees, (who left at 4:30 were not being adequately
supervised because the supervisors left at 4:00 pm. However, the evidence revealed that
sometime after Cp was transferred back to day shift, one of the Domestic Violence supervisors
was scheduled daily until 5:00 so adequate coverage was not an issue. OHRncould ?nd no
reason why this action couldn?t have been taken when Cp was transferred back to command Field
Operations in the ?rst place or why Cp?s hours were not simply pushed back one-half hour to
provide ?needed coverage.? Another reason the Sheriff gave for transferring Cp to the
?purgatory? schedule was because the Domestic Violence unit went to a 24/7 schedule.?
However, the evidence showed that the Domestic Violence unit did not go to a full 24/7 schedule
until November 30, 2014, some four (4) years after Cp was put on the evening shift. Perhaps the
Sheriff is referring to the time that the Domestic Violence began to provide 24-hour coverage
(except weekends and holidays) in 2013. However, this was still some two (2) years after he
created the late work schedule for Cp.

Cp testi?ed, and OHR ?nds, that there was no need to schedule Cp until 8:00 pm. in
2010 to supervise civilian employees (who left at 4:30) or to supervise deputies that already had a
supervisor in place; or that could have easily been handled by changing the Domestic Violence
supervisor?s hours to end at 5:00 pm. Moreover, according to the evidence, Cp was only
returnedto day shift on January 20, 2014 because the Sheriff needed Cp to assume charge of the
property room after Lieutenant Carroll Roles retired on January 12, 2014. OHR found no
evidence to support Rp?s assertion that Cp was transferred away from the Court because Cp was
unable to do his job or for any other legitimate business reason. If anything, the evidence showed
that this assignment hindered Cp?s ability to command Field Operations at the Dorsey Building.

investigator also spoke with Lieutenant Carroll Roles who retired from the

Sheriff?s Of?ce on or about January 12, 2014. When investigator asked him why he left

?7 The Domestic Violence Unit serves domestic violence related warrants, protective orders, peace orders and
summonses. Additionally, Deputies provide welfare checks of domestic violence victims to ensure their
continued safety during and after their cases appear before the Court. Deputies may also be called upon to
provide police back up, if necessary.

Page 21 of 48 Pages

the Sheriff?s Office, Lieutenant Roles said without hesitation: ?Because of political pressure!?
He continued: ?Someone told the Sheriff that I was going to support his opponent in the 2014
election. That wasn?t true! I was going to remain neutral. But, you can?t be neutral with the
Sheriff. If you don?t vote for him you are voting against him.? Apparently, Lieutenant Roles
had supported the Sheriff in the ?rst election and had'also changed his mind because ?he went
back to his vindictive ways.? Shortly after the 2014 election, Deputy Kelly Smith told Lieutenant
Roles that Sheriff Fitzgerald was intending to place him on the midnight shift. Because Deputy
Smith is reputed to be one of the Sheriff?s ?favorites,? Lieutenant Roles believed that the Sheriff
was about to retaliate against him like he had done with Cp. He told investigator: saw
what happened to Charlie [Cp] when he tried to be neutral. . .and how the Sheriff had changed
Charlie?s schedule for ?no reason? forfour (4) years!? Rather than wait for a retaliatory
transfer order, Lieutenant Roles opted to retire early. According to Lieutenant Roles, a number
of people told him they could not attend his retirement party; several secretly confided that they
feared retaliation from Sheriff Fitzgerald if they were to show up. Lieutenant Roles was at the
in~service meeting 011 November 11, 2010 and also felt that Sheriff Fitzgerald made the transfers
solely to retaliate against the ?non-supp?tters? and that he intended to sti?e any opposing

political opinions by his ?power play.?

Witnesses Supporting the Sheriff

investigator also interviewed several Iwitnesses who testified favorably about the
Sheriff. They are referred to in this Finding as his ?supporters.? With the exception of Major
Voll (who. originally supported Sheriff Cave before switching his allegiance to Sheriff
Fitzgerald), none of these ?supportive? witnesses opposed the Sheriff in any of his elections.
Neither were they ?neutral,? they all contributed to the Sheriff?s campaigns and worked to help
get him elected. It is not surprising, therefore, that they did not experience retaliation or consider
the work environment hostile. Witnesses identi?ed Major George Voll, Sergeant Darrin
Granger, Corporal Mark Verderaime, Corporal Tom Harding and Deputy Kelly Smith as Sheriff
Fitzgerald?s most ardent supporters.18 The ?supporters? all reported that the Sheriff has done

18 In February, 2016, an internal investigation carried out by the Of?ce of the County Auditor revealed that at
least four of these men improperly used union leave to place signs and otherwise campaign for the Sheriff?s
most recent re-election. Witnesses reported that they even used the Sheriff?s Truck to transport campaign signs.
investigator interviewed Sergeant Verderaime, (the FOP president for the past two election cycles). He
said he considered campaigning for the Sheriff an acceptable use of Union leave and that ?we did put up signs,
but not at the Sheriff? 5 request.? The Auditor?s investigation also revealed that a Sergeant, [Sergeant Granger]
who was not even a member of the FOP lodge was paid lodge leave to campaign for the Sheriff. Overall, the
investigation found that the Sheriff received county-subsidized campaign lab or amounting to approximately

Page 22 of 48 Pages

admirable things for the Of?ce since his ?rst election in 2006. Speci?cally, they said the Sheriff
has: 1) replaced the deputy cruisers and transport vehicles with modern, safe equipment, 2)
entered into the ?rst Collective Bargaining Agreement on behalf of all who work for the Sheriff?s
Of?ce, 3) obtained a higher pay scale for the employees, pay differential for shift work, and
higher rates for worker?s compensation pay, 4) gave the sworn personnel new hats and a uniform
allowance, and 5) increased diversity in the Sherist Of?ce from 7% to over 30% African-
American sworn and civilian employees. None of the ?supp01ters? interviewed by
investigator felt that the Sheriff had retaliated against anyone because they did not support his
campaign.? Their testimony appeared consistent, if not rehearsed. investigation
appeared to be common knowledge among the employees in the Sheriff?s Of?ce (and many
outside the Sheriff?s Of?ce). Most witnesses (supporter, neutral and non-suppOrter) were not
surprised by?the investigator?s invitation to discuss their experience working for the Sheriff.
Early into investigation and just before investigator interviewed the ?supporters,?
Lieutenant Knott advised that Major Voll had told him the names of those who had been asked to
appear at of?ce for interviews. He warned investigator that: ?The gentlemen that
you will be talking to Verderaime, Granger and Smith] will be less than forthcoming.?
Another witness informed investigator that immediately after her request to interview the
?supporters,? they began a series of closed?door meetings; it was apparent that they were
discussing, together, what they were going to relate during their interviews.

investigation revealed that those who have openlysupported the Sheriff have also
received promotions, prestige, and/or power as a result of their support. The Sheriff has also
failed to discipline at least one Deputy/supporter for several incidents of ?conduct unbecoming an
of?cer,? accidents involving the Sheriff?s vehicles, lost weapons, and/or misconduct while on
duty. One witness described it thus: ?The good 01? boys seem to always get promoted, even if
they'don?t deserve it, and are not reprimanded for things that they should be.?
investigator was able to determine that:

A. Major V011 did not initially support the Sheriff" 3 ?rst election but was awarded his
second in command position approximately eight (8) months later.20 He is reputed to be
vulgar and inappropriate in his position of authority. Yet, witnesses feel that he has never

been effectively reprimanded for it and his crass remarks in the workplace. Major V011

$8000. Sergeant Verderaime, who had a close relationship with Cp, prior to this time reported that he no longer
speaks with Cp because, ?he threw me under the bus in front of the County Council [over the leave issue].?

'9 This includes Maj or Voll. Yet, Cp alleged that Major V011 was the one to direct him to the Office of Human
Rights for help in ?ling a Charge of Discrimination against the Sheriff.

2? Cp did not agree with the Sheriff?s decision to select Maj or V011 as his second in command and informed the
Sheriff, early on, why he felt this way. Lieutenant Knott reported that Sheriff Fitzgerald asked Cp to write
down his compla ints/concerns about Maj or yet when he did, the Sheriff berated him for it.

Page 23 of 48 Pages

campaigned heavily for the Sheriff in the past two (2) elections and may have received
union pay to do it.

B. Deputy Verderaime was promoted to Corporal in 2011. In 2016 he was promoted to
Sergeant. He is the FOP president and extremely supportive of the Sheriff. He received
union pay to campaign for the Sheriff.

C. Sergeant Granger Was brought in as a Sergeant First Class in 2011 to conduct internal
investigations. He has been given authority (arguably exceeding the authority of the
Lieutenants) when he was appointed as the Sheriff?s ?mouthpiece.? He was promoted to
Lieutenant in 2016. It is believed that he received union pay for campaigning for the
Sheriff, even though he was not a member of the union.

D. Corporal Tom Harding is reputed to be the only employee allowed to work four 10-hour
shifts while comp-time has been eliminated for everyone else. It is believed that he also
received union pay for his help with the Sherist campaign.

E. Deputy Kelly Smith is reputed to be a favorite of the Sheriff. He also received union pay
to campaign for the Sheriff. Several incidents involving Deputy Smith have been
reported to investigator; many of which would seem to require severe discipline,
if not demotion and/or termination; yet nothing has been done to reprimand him. Deputy

Smith was appointed FOP Vice President by Sergeant Verderaime on July 24, 2013. -

More troubling than the union/pay issues cited above, are several reports received by
investigator evidencing misconduct that has seemingly been condoned by the Sheriff.
Major Voll was reported by several witnesses for conduct unbecoming an of?cer. A particularly
offensive instance of misconduct occurred in 2012 when Major Voll was supervising County
workers while they installed cubicles at the Sheriff 3 Of?ce. Witnesses reported that Maj or Voll
made extremely vulgar comments in the presence of these workers and at least ?ve (5)
employees of the Sheriff?s Of?ce, including a woman. Speci?cally, Major V011 said something
to the effect that: ?Granger is off today because his wife is getting a pussy rejuvenation. . .She?s
getting her vagina all tightened up for him!? The female employee (who reported to
investigator that she was embarrassed) told Maj or Voll to: ?Knock it off? But Major V011 kept
going. He continued with statements like: ?She needs to get extra stitches because Granger has
such a little penis.? The female employee le? and later ?led a complaint with her supervisor.
The complaint was allegedly brought to the Sheriff. However, after Sheriff Fitzgerald took the
complaint, witness reported that, instead of curbing his conduct, Major Voll seemed to retaliate
against the female employee. Major Voll began to harass her at work, daily, regarding her use of

earned sick leave. She reported that Major Voll made her job uncomfortable to the point that

Page 24 of 48 Pages

other employees began to join with him in making belittling and sarcastic remarks. She no
longer enjoyed coming to work. Several witness reported that Maj or Voll habitually makes
gross, crass, and vulgar remarks 'while on duty even about other women working for the Sheriff?s
Of?ce. Several witnesses reported that Sheriff Fitzgerald excuses Major Voll?s vulgarity by
stating: ?It?s just George [Major Voll]! What do you expect? He?s just a hillbilly.? Several
witnesses also report that Major Vol] is given preferential treatment because, besides being
promoted to Major he was habitually absent on Fridays for over a year. Only when the
supervisors discovered that he never reported it as time off/leave, and voiced concern over the
missing hours, did the practice stop.

Sergeant Darrin Granger was hired after the Sheriff?s second election in November 2010
and is also the subject of much disdain among a majority of the witnesses interviewed. After
retiring from Baltimore County, he was hired as the Sheriff?s Executive Officer (a newly created
position) and many witnesses recount that they were told: ?Granger speaks for the Sheriff.? His I
first day was the same day as the November 11, 2010 in?service meeting. Sheriff Fitzgerald told
investigator that Sergeant Granger was hired to conduct internal investigations because
the current supervisors, speci?cally Cp, were unwilling to investigate each other; needed an
outsider to do it.? Unlike past practice, however, Mr. Granger was not hired as a Deputy, or even
a Corporal; he began as a Sergeant First Class. This, together with his internal investigations has
meant that Sel'geant?Granger is not well liked in the Of?ce. Many feel that he tries to find ?dirt?
on those the Sheriff described as ?cancers,? possibly at the Sheriffs instruction, or in an effort to
?look good? for the Sheriff. One witness described Sergeant Granger as ?The Sheriffs pet; he
messed with everyone?s job under the direction of the Sheriff. He looks for reasons to bring
good supervisors down.? Whether or not this is true, Sergeant Granger has received power and
title at the Sheriff?s hand. Sergeant Granger was recently promoted to Lieutenant and assumed
the role of commander of Field Operations when Cp retired. With the promotion of Sergeant
Matthew Ware, Lieutenant Granger has resumed his position as ?Administrative
Services/Executive Officer? to the Sheriff. At least one witness testi?ed in favor ofLieutenant-
Granger stating that he is not liked ?Because he makes people accountable, and gets things
done.? Another witness said: ?Granger does a lot more work than V011 does.? I

Corporal Mark Verderaime was also interviewed by investigator. He testi?ed
that he had very little knowledge about any interactions between the Sheriff and Cp; ?1 was only
a Corporal so I was not privy to what happens with those at upper levels.? He ?did not recall? Cp
complaining about his work schedule. When asked'about retaliatory actions-on the part of the

Sheriff, Corporal Verderaime said: don?t really know if you can get on the Sheriff?s bad side; I

Page 25 of 48 Pages

honestly don?t know if he holds a grudge. We are all grown men, we?ve worked in police, and
we work under stress. I just don?t see how the Sheriff could intimidate any of these men.?21
Corporal Verderaime was also one of the persons known to campaign for the Sheriff using union
leave. He was recently promoted to Sergeant. Several witnesses rep01ted that this promotion
was ajoke; one witness said: love Mark, but his work ethic is terrible.? Witnesses also
reported that Sergeant Verderaime is also treated more favorably when it comes to parking.
Both Sheriff Fitzgerald and Maj or Vol] reported that only Sheriff vehicles may use Sheriff
designated parking spaces at the Dorsey Building. Yet, it is common knowledge that Corporal
Verderaime parks his private vehicle in those spots after lunch; so he can carry on a ?driving
school business? when he leaves the Of?ce for the day.

Cp told investigator that Corporal Verderaime listened to his complaints about
being in ?purgatory? and that he, Corporal Verderaime, told Cp that he was trying to talk the
Sheriff into putting him back on the day shift. For his part, Corporal Verderaime admitted that
they were long?time friends but denied he tried to help get Cp?s schedule changed back. He said
that Cp seemed to like the evening shift. During his interview with investigator, Corporal
Verderaime only remembered that he got the Sheriff and Cp together after ?the Sheriff was
upset? about a 15~page complaint Cp had written about Major Voll in 2007. investigator
confirmed, however, that Corporal Verderaime did not begin working for the Sheriff?s Of?ce
until May 1, 2008 almost a year after Major Voll was appointed. It is unlikely that he assisted Cp
and the Sheriff prior to his hire date. Even so, Corporal Verderaime testified that he got the
Sheriff and Cp to meet together so they could ?air things out.?

Deputy Kelly Smith was hired by the Sheriff and began working in the Warrants unit on
February 21, 2012. He is also an ardent supporter of the Sheriff. Many witnesses perceive him
as very favored by the Sheriff and refer to him as the ?Golden Boy.? Deputy Smith initially
declined to be interviewed by investigator. He then agreed to appear if he were
subpoenaed and had counsel present; investigator opted not to interview this reluCtant, if
not hostile, witness. However, several disturbing incidents Ibehaviors involving Deputy Kelly
Smith were reported to investigator by other witnesses. One incident reported to
investigator involved the loss of Deputy Smith?s Office-issued revolver. According to the
evidence, Cp (who was the commander of Field Operations) authored a report the day after
Deputy Smith lost his ?rearm indicating that, on August 29, 2013, Deputy Smith could not locate

his duffle bag, which contained the gun issued to him by the Sherist Of?ce, an extra magazine,

21 One witness reported that ?if we wanted to support the other candidate, we had to go directly to him or
through someone else so the Sheriff would have no record of what we did.?

Page 26 of 48 Pages

Sheriff-issued handcuffs and a set of personal handcuffs. The report indicated that Deputy Smith
left the duf?e bag in his Sheriff vehicle overnight. The car was parked, unlocked, in front of
his heme located in Carroll County.22 The Sheriff never reprimanded Deputy Smith over the loss
of his ?rearm and Deputy Smith now 'carries his personal revolver to the job.23

Another incident involving Deputy Smith has come to be referred to as ?shit gate? by
several witnesses. Interestingly, the only witness investigator talked to (that worked-for
the Sheriff?s Of?ce at the time) who claimed he did not remember this incident was Major V011.
He said: totally missed that! I must have been out!? Several witnesses reported that early on
the morning of June 19, 2014, one of the women employees entered the front restroom generally
utilized by the women, the Sheriff and Deputy Smith. According to witnesses, a woman entered
the bathroom and discovered human feces smeared all over the walls. Contrary to Major Voll?s
testimony, several witnesses told investigator that Major Vol] was present that day and
the situation was reported to him. Witnesses testi?ed that Major V011 and others reviewed
surveillance tapes of the hallway that morning. It was determined that the last person to enter the
restroom (prior to the time the woman entered to' discover the feces) was Deputy Kelly Smith.
When investigator asked Corporal Verderaime, Deputy Smith?s supervisor, if he
reprimanded Deputy Smith over the incident, he said Corporal Verderaime said: was
asked to talk to Deputy Smith about it, but he denied doing it; so he was never reprimanded.?
When asked who requested him to discuss the incident with Deputy Smith, Corporal Verderaime
said: can?t recall.? Several witnesses testi?ed that Sheriff Fitzgerald personally cleaned the
feces up. One witness said they thought Deputy Smith was a he was probably
mad at the Sheriff because he did not receive a promotion. If Deputy Smith did smear feces on
the wall of the restroom that morning, it would explain why he chose the restroom nearest the
Sheriff?s Of?ce.

Another witness described Deputy Smith as: ?I?One of the Sheriff?s boys, if you open your

mouth there is a price to pay.? Another said: ?Smith is about the worst employee you can

22 The Sheriff also reputedly assigns county vehicles to those who support him. It is uncertain why Deputy
Kelly could take his vehicle home, some miles beyond the County line. Others reported seeing photos of two
(2) Sheriff Vehicles parked at his home at the beach (Ocean Pines). investigator assumed that one of
these vehicles was assigned to the Sheriff. The other may have been issued to Corporal Harding who is reputed
to have a home on the beach near the Sheriff?s. It is interesting to note that one witness reported that county
vehicles are no longer assigned to speci?c deputies; there is some speculation that Sheriff Fitzgerald continues
to drive county cars over the bay bridge every week to his home at the beach.

23 One reason for the lack of discipline surrounding Deputy Smith?s lest ?rearm may be because Sheriff
Fitzgerald also lost his County-issued ?rearm three years earlier. According to the evidence, the Sheriff lost his
?rearm ?between 2/9 and 2/10/2010.? The report alleged that after he went home he noticed it was missing. He
returned to the Dorsey Building to search for it; yet he could not ?nd it. Interestingly, this report was not
prepared by Maj or Voll until 2014; four (4) years a?er the Sizerlff lost his gun and only because the National
Crime Information Center (NCIC), a division of the FBI,'conducted an audit requesting the records for the
Sherist ?rearm. Policy requires all missing ?rearms to be reported immediately.

Page 27 of 48 Pages

have. ..he smokes at a cigar shop for hours a day, does what he wants and is never reprimanded.
He is the only one that can park his personal car in the sheriff 3 spots. He has had numerous

I accidents and had never been He disappears for hours at a time and is not
reprimanded.? I

In an effort to show that Cp could not have been discriminated against due to his Political
Opinion, Sheriff Fitzgerald, Major V011 and Corporal Verderaime all reported to
investigator that Cp supported the Sheriff in the 2014 election by making monetary donations to
the campaign. Cp admitted that he made minor monetary contributions to the Sheriff?s 2014
campaign, but explained that he felt that Corporal Verderaime pressured him into donating when
he told him that it was in his ?best interest to support the Sheriff.? Cp said: did contribute to
the 2014 campaign. I had just made it out of ?purgatory? and I didn?t want him to put me back
there.? Many witnesses felt that the level of Sheriff Fitzgerald?s vindictive. and abusive behavior
had increased exponentially and that Cp received the worst of it. One witness said that two of
Sheriff Fitzgerald?s supporters told-him/her: think he?s losing it. . ..he?s losing his mind!? This
witness also advised that supervisors are ?scared to deat to voice any opposing opinions to the
Sheriff and that many of the Deputies won?t leave because they are afraid that the Sheriff would
provide negative recommendations (or retaliate in the same way he did with Deputy McGuirk).
Another witness put it this way: ?We felt like we had to go to his political functions because we
would catch hell for not'going.?

In an effort to contradict the assertion that Sheriff Fitzgerald retaliated against those who
did not support him, Major Voll also testi?ed that, was on the record as supporting 'Cave .in the
2006 election and he [Sheriff Fitzgerald] didn?t hold it against me; he promoted me to Major.?
However, witnesses indicated that while-Major Voll did support Sheriff Cave initially, as soon as
Major Voll realized that Sheriff Cave was going to lose the election, Major V011 switched his
allegiance and began to ?kiss ass? and otherwise attempt to gain the favor of Sheriff Fitzgerald._
Major V011 was promoted to his position as Chief Deputy approximately eight (8) months after
the Sheriff was elected the ?rst time.

Another employee that both Sheriff Fitzgerald and Major Voll said had been a proponent
of Sheriff Cave was Ms. Pat Mergenthaler (wife of Major Scott Mergenthaler, Sheriff Cave?s
second in command). According to Major Vol], Ms. Mergenthaler was caught taking down
Sheriff Fitzgerald?s campaign signs, yet both testified that the Sheriff didn?t retaliate against her
when he won office. They said she was allowed to stay at the Of?ce and was never treated
poorly. Witnesses reported otherwise. While Ms. Mergenthaler did continue to work for the

Sheriff?s Office, immediately after Sheriff Cave and her husband left, she was also moved to the

Page 28 of48 Pages

Court House. It seems unlikely that Ms. Mergenthaler?s transfer to the Court House, shortly after
the Sheriff?s ?rst. election, was a kindness bestowed to her after a very bitter campaign against

Sheriff Cave (and Maj or Mergenthaler).

Tactic Two: verbal abuse, bullying, and intimidation

Next, Cp alleged that Sheriff Fitzgerald created a hostile work environment when he
engaged? in, verbally abusive, bullying and intimidating behavior; some in public and some behind
closed doors. Cp alleges that Sheriff Fitzgerald often engaged in conduct unbecoming an of?cer
and he was very offended by it. One former employee even expressed current concern for
retaliation aimed at any current employee who might give any negative testimony about the
Sheriff to investigator. S/he told investigator: ?Sheriff Fitzgerald rules by fear
and terror. He WILL retaliate against anyone he thinks might be part of your investigation.?
Moreover, s/he said: ?The current employees don?t think anything can or will be done to help
them because the Sheriff is an elected official. . ..Fitzgerald will simply thumb, his nose at the
system because he is the Sheriff and he will do whatever he wants.? Even Major George V011
(who is adamantly supportive of Sheriff Fitzgerald) reported to investigator that Sheriff
Fitzgerald has said (on more than one occasion): THE FUCKING I CAN DO
THNG TO Another witness testified: ?Sheriff Fitzgerald is NOT out for the best interest
of Howard County. It?s about personal power and revenge. This man is out of control.? Another
said: ?The way he treated me and other good people Working in the Sheriff?s Of?ce was terrible.
But because he is a public official, nobody can do anything to him; except thepublic and the
public doesn?t know.?

One example of bullying and intimidation involved Deputy Marsili. At the time of the
second election, Deputy Marsili worked with Deputy Collins in the Warrants unit. Witnesses
reported hearing about an event involving Deputy Marsili which occurred just one day after the
results of the 2010 election (and approximately two weeks before the in-service meeting
discussed herein). At the conclusion of his shift, Deputy Marsili left work approximatelyl 5
minutes early (10:45 pm.) for a medical reason. After Deputy Marsili had exited the parking lot
(in his personal vehicle) and was proceeding down the public highway, Sheriff Fitzgerald (who
had apparently followed him in an unmarked cruiser), put on his lights and siren and stopped him
in ?law enforcement fashion.? One witness reported that they heard Sheriff Fitzgerald pulled
Deputy Marsili over a?er he had crossed over into Baltimore County! According to various

testimonies, Deputy Marsili was very upset by the incident and reported to others that after the

Page 29 of 48 Pages

Sheriff had stopped him, he came up to his window and yelled at Deputy Marsili: ARE
YOU Deputy Marsili reputedly responded: ?Going home.? YOU KNOW

After this, Sheriff Fitzgerald returned to his vehicle without giving Deputy Marsili any
cognizable reason to stop/detain him in his private vehicle; he was not warned or issued with any
traf?c citation. OHR con?rmed that pulling someone over in their private vehicle for what was,
essentiallya non-law enforcement matter a personnel matter) also violated the Of?ce?s
General Orders and the Of?cer?s Code of Conduct. It would appear that Sheriff Fitzgerald used
his authority simply to stop Deputy Marsili to intimidate him. Various witnesses stated: ?There
was'no reason for the Sheriff to pull Deputy Marsili over, except to harass him.?

Another incident of verbal harassment involved Deputy Chriest. Apparently, the
Sheriff?s dislike of Sheriff Cave extended to civilian personnel who used to work for Sheriff
Cave. At the time of the ?rst election, Court House employees were not routinely ?wanded? at
the metal detector when they entered the building. Shortly after his ?rst election, Sheriff
Fitzgerald saw Deputy Chriest wave Sheriff Cave?s former secretary by; without having her go
through the metal detector or ?wanding? her. According to witnesses, Sheriff Fitzgerald
screamed at Deputy Chriest for allowing this to happen in full view of the public at the Court

During his interview with investigator, Lieutenant Roles revealed that he began to
think seriously about his own retirement after the Sheriff publicly berated and humiliated him for
Icordoning off the ?wrong? Spaces in the Dorsey Building parking lot in 2012. This incident was
corroborated by many witnesses. Apparently Sheriff Fitzgerald asked Lieutenant Roles to
reserve twelve (12) parking spaces in preparation for a Sheriff?s meeting the next day.24 After he
had clocked out, Lieutenant Roles returned to the Dorsey Building that evening and, by the use of
tape and cones, reserved eight (8) spaces in the Sheriff spots and six (6) spaces in the adjacent
public lot. Upon arrival to the of?ce the next morning, witnesses said that Sheriff Fitzgerald
came into the Dorsey Building, threw his briefcase down thehall, and screamed for Lieutenant
Roles to HERE He asked Lieutenant Roles: ?What the FUCK did you do II You
didn?t give me twelve (12) GOD DAMNED spaces in a row!?? Lieutenant Roles reported that
the Sheriff 3 face was ?beet red? and that women inside the building heard the scolding/tirade.
He told investigator that it was after this incident that he began to re?think working for
Sheriff Fitzgerald. Women employees (from other of?ces) who heard the tirade told Lieutenant

24 Why Sheriff Fitzgerald assigned this duty to a Lieutenant rather than one of the Deputies. is uncertain. One
witness opined that was meant to belittle Lieutenant Roles.

Page 30 of 48 Pages

Roles that they could not believe the public scolding he had been subjected to. They told him:
thought you were going to quit or tell him offl?

Lieutenant Roles also witnessed a similar ?in your face intimidation? toward Corporal
Mike Hajek. Apparently, the Sheriff pointed a ?nger in Corporal Hajek?s face in front of others
WHATEVER GOD-DAMNED THING I Several witnesses also reported that the
Sheriff also berated Ms. Pat Stevens for between 10 and 15 continuous minutes and concluded by
saying: THE FUCK OUT OF THIS It was after this incident that Ms. Stephens
was moved down the hall away from Sheriff Fitzgerald.

Another incident reported to investigator involved verbal harassment Sheriff
Fitzgerald in?icted upon an innocent young woman named Ms. Jessica Newnan because she
supported her father in the 2014 election. Sometime before the election, Ms. Newnan was
handing out ?yers on behalf of her father, Captain John Newnan, who was running against the
Sheriff. Apparently Sheriff Fitzgerald walked by and, Ms. Newnan asked him if she could give
him some literature on John Newnan for Sheriff. The Sheriff was not in uniform and Ms.
Newnan thought she was talking to a regular citizen. According to Ms. Newnan, Sheriff
Fitzgerald very rudely replied: "You absolutely may not give me any literature on John Newnan!
Who do you think you are! You smart ass! Asking me a dumb question like that! Don't you
know who I am?" Ms Newnan immediately apologized and told him to have a good day.
However, Sheriff Fitzgerald did not let it go; he purposely Continued to insult, verbally harass
and berate Ms. Newnan. Ms. Newnan reported that Sheriff Fitzgerald:

?continued to use profanity and harass me about asking him this question. He then told
me who he was and I apologized at length and told him that I- had never met him and it
was an honest mistake. At this point, his wife, who was seated in a lawn chair, started
making rude comments to me as well. My mom, Kathleen Newnan, was standing a
distance away and heard what was happening. She walked over, apologized, and told
them it was an accident. She told them I had never met the Sheriff and didn't know. They
continued with saying "yea right" and verbally going off? My mom and I walked away.
Later on, the Sheriff came and stood close by and started making harassing comments
about my father. The Sheriff was making statements that were untrue, hurtful and
were questioning his character. I kindly asked the Sheriff not to speak about my father
that way in front of me, especially when what he was saying was hurtful and untrue. The
Sher-Hf became angry and irate. He started yelling at me and going 0}?0 about my father.
He started again using profanity and questioning my intelligence and my character. It
was so unpleasant and mortifying. The Sheriff created such a scene that two incredibly
kind-hearted gentlemen, Dario Broccolino and Maryland State Delegate (I believe this is
the proper position/title) Frank Turner came and escorted me away from Sheriff
Fitzgerald. They had me stand by them until the situation calmed down. I have never
been treated in such a disrespectful manner by 1) a law enforcement officer 2) a respected
member of the community 3) someone in power and 4) a person running for and/or in

Page 31 of 48 Pages

Mr. Newnan told investigator that when his daughter called him that day, she was
crying; he tried to console her and told her to leave. Mr. Newnan reported that he travels in the
same law enforcement circles with Sheriff Fitzgerald and has personally witnessed him harass
and bully people in this manner several times. He also told investigator that since 2014,
he has received several telephone calls from persons working for Sheriff Fitzgerald; they all tell
him that the environment they are working in is hostile. One Deputy, who saw him at the Court
House, told Mr. Newnan: ?If he sees me with you, I?m done. . .he?ll put me on weekends and
midnight shift like he did to Charlie.? Another Deputy told him that ?they felt they had to
support the Sheriff? 3 campaign; if I don?t at least write a check for $50, I?ll be on the shit list.?25

investigator asked Sheriff Fitzgerald about the use of profanity at the Sheriff?s
Of?ce. He denied that profanity is ever used at the Of?ce. He told investigator: don?t
recall (my use of profanity. If it did happen I?d say, knock it off; we are not in a barnyard and we
don?t use that language.? Many of Sheriff Fitzgerald?s supporters said that they had never heard
him use profanity. Major Voll admitted Sheriff Fitzgerald makes use of profanity, but not in
public. Office staff contradicted both Sheriff Fitzgerald and Major Voll when they reported:
?They all swear around here? but not in a mean way. Yet, another witness described the Sheriffs

Of?ce as: ?a locker-room mentality in uniform.?

Verbal Harassment of Complainant
Cp alleged that on Friday, August 7, 2015, at approximately 10:30am. the Sheriff:

?came into my of?ce doorway with a blood-red face, blocked my only exit, and pointed
at me while raising his voice. He wanted to know why I had changed Sergeant Brian
Baer?s work schedule. To answer Sheriff Fitzgerald?s question, I stated I had changed
Sergeant Baer?s reporting time because it was Shannon Turc?s last day and Sergeant Baer
and the D.V. Deputies wanted to take her out to lunch if she was up to it.26 He didn?t like
the ?rst part of my answer and he screamed HE CAN TAKE HER TO LUNCH ON HIS
OWN FUCKING I calmly told the Sheriff ?Come on, she?s been a loyal
employee for over 10 years? but he didn?t want to hear any further justi?cations
[concerning needing training from Ms. Turc, etc.] and continued to berate me. I tried
again and he just didn?t want to hear it. The word was in no short supply when he
yelled that Sergeant Baer was RUNNING THE FUCKING OFFICE, not me, and he
turned and stormed back into the hallway and into his of?ce.?

25 The incident involving Ms. Newnan occurred approximately 1 year before Cp?s ?nal encounter with the
Sheriff. I

26 Shannon Turc worked with the Of?ce as a Domestic Violence Technician for approximately 23 years. She
had a severe spinal condition that worsened to the point that she had to tender her resignation as she could no
longer sit at her desk. Ms. Turc had knowledge of special procedures that Sergeant Baer and others needed to
learn on her last day.

Page 32 of 48 Pages -

This yelling incident was corroborated by at least three (3) witnesses. One reported that
it lasted between 15?20 minutes; another said it lasted 5-10 minutes. Two reported that the
I Sheriff was very leud and that they could not hear Cp respond; it was a one?sided berating.
However, a third witness reported that they did hear the Sheriff say: [Sergeant Baer] CAN
DO THAT ON HIS OWN FUCKING THIS IS MY The witness alleged that
when Cp asked the Sheriff to speak in a more respectful tone, the Sheriff yelled at Cp: IS

Immediately a?er this encounter, Cp called Major V011 and told him he?d had enough
abuse and was going home for the day. On his way out, he stopped by the desk of one witness
and said: ?The dog is treated better than I am treated. I?m going home.? Cp also told another
witness: can?t take being talked to like this anymore; he treats me like a dog.? Cp also spoke
to a third witness that day. Cp told him/her: ?How can I come back and manage these people
when they just heard how the Sheriff treated me.? Lieutenant Knott also reported speaking to Cp
immediately after the incident. He said: could tell that Charlie had reached his limit; I could
hear the desperation in his voice and I told Charlie to ?get the hell out of there!

After this incident, Cp reached out for help; he felt he had been subjected to severe and/or
pervasive workplace harassment for many years and couldn?t take it anymore. He was told by
Howard County Human Resources and/or County Administration that they could not help him
because he was not a ?county employee? as the Sheriff Of?ce is not controlled by Howard
County; it is controlled by the State of Malyland, and its current Governor. When Cp called the
State Attorney General?s Of?ce for help, he was told they could not help him because they
?represent the Sheriff.? He was a man, at the end of his rope, without help. Lieutenant Knott
said ?there was no immediate intervention for Charlie.? However a few days later Lieutenant
Knott said that Mr. Lonnie Robbins, Chief Administrative Of?cer for Howard County
Government, called him and told him: don?t know what we?re going to do for Charlie, but we
are going to help him somehow.? One witness opined that Mr. Robbins referred Cp to for
help. Cp told intake investigator, on or about August 10, 2015, that working for Sheriff
Fitzgerald was a ?constant reign of terror? and felt he was subjected to ?an extreme, hostile work
environment? but because he and others were not county employees they had nowhere to go for
help.? Cp said he was the ?rst to come forward with his complaints; even though he was fearful

because the Sheriff always carries his ?rearm.

27 Cp reported that after the County-wide, mandated ?respectful workplace training? sessions in 2015, ?every
female came to him asking when the Sheriff is going to the training.

Page 33 of 48 Pages

The day following his initial contact with OHR, Cp ?led a Worker?s Compensation claim
with the County?s Of?ce of Risk Management (ORM). He alleged ?mental stress.? He reported
that he was being treated by his primary physician for sleep deprivation and fatigue which was to
the point he was unable to carry out his functions as commander of Field Operations. He stated:

?This mental and physical fatigue is due to fear and worry after experiencing a series of
escalating tirades and harassment by Sheriff James Fitzgerald. This pattern of mental
abuse culminated on Fri., Aug. 7, 2015 at approximately 10:30 am, when Sheriff
Fitzgerald confronted me in my Dorsey Building office and loudly berated me without
provocation, using foul language and unfounded accusations. I am in fear for my
physical well-being as well as my mental health?,

On August 11, 2015, Major Voll ?lled out an incident report for ORM which stated:

?While on vacation I received phone call from Lt. Gable [Cp] requesting to go home sick
because Sheriff Fitzgerald came to his of?ce yelling and talking to him like a dog. He
stated enough of this abuse and going home.? - -

Major Vol] also signed Cp?s request for FMLA on September 8, 2015. At this point, Cp had
been evaluated by a therapist and by his personal physician. The doctor recorded the following
history in his report: I

?At last visit Charles discussed having a bad encounter with his Sheriff at the station and
says he has ?had enough.? He reported that the station is crumbling and his Sheriff
accused him of stealing. Apparently, his Sheriff came into his of?ce and in visual and
auditory range of several other employees berated him and cursed at him until he ?nally
had to leave the of?ce. He can no longer function in that type of hostile environment
and it is causing him a lot of stress. Later that day he went to the county human resources
department who said they cannot do anything about the situation because it is not a
?county problem.? Charles feels that his Sheriff actually has some mental issues going
on? with the way he had been acting and an increase paranoid state. He has tried to report
his behavior to several departments with no help. . .. He has had trouble falling asleep
because of all this work related stress but does not have problems staying asleep. Charles
also reports experiencing intermittent palpitations, anxiety, difficulty ?turning his
brain? as he thinks about all of the problems at work, and even some marital con?ict
related to the work situationcounselor through E.A.P., who diagnosed
[Cp with PT SD related to prolonged exposure to a hostile work environment. He is
taking all the steps necessary to resolve the situation, but is consumed with it and can?t
stop talking about it with friends and family. He is having a hard time focusing on
anything else.?

Cp?s doctor concluded: believe it would be medically inadvisable for him to return to

his current work situation.?

On the other hand, Sheriff Fitzgerald and Major V011 minimized the hostile nature of the
work environment and Cp?s condition. When asked about yelling at Cp on August 7, 2015,
Sheriff Fitzgerald explained: ?We had words. He went home. I think it was childish. He should

have gone to lunch and come back to work that afternoon. I was ?abbergasted at his reaction [to

Page 34? of 48 Pages

go out on The Sheriffs ?supporters? said that they didn?t think the workplace was
hostile to Cp and that Sheriff Fitzgerald was just a ?loud New Yorker.? No other witness
characterized Cp as a ?childish.? Rather, all other witnesses that were interviewed by
investigator, and who had worked with or for Cp, characterized Cp as a competent, capable law
enforcement of?cer who always desired to do the right thing. Several substantiated that Cp was

subjected to a severe and' pervasive hostile work environment created by Sheriff Fitzgerald.

Tactic Three: Promotions
Several witnesses told investigator that ?the Sheriff will not promote you if he
thinks you do not support him.? The best evidence of this is the fact that the Sheriff?s supporters
have been systematically promoted:
Cp promoted to Lieutenant (before he switched his support)
George Vol] promoted to Maj or
Mark Verderaime promoted to Sergeant
Darrin Granger promoted to Lieutenant
One witness that investigator spoke with told her that he was hired as a Deputy in
the Warrants unit. He felt his performance was good and had never been counseled otherwise.
Yet, just one or two days before he had worked with the Sheriff? Of?ce one year, he was called
into a meeting with the Sheriff and was told: ?your services are no longer needed.? He said:
?They couldn?t tell me why; they just escorted me home.? He said: found out later that the
Sheriff needed a spot for his buddy, Kelly Smith from the Police Department.? It would appear
that this Deputy was terminated because the office was at full capacity and the Sheriff wanted to
hire Deputy Kelly Smith.23
investigation also revealed that, at the time Sheriff Fitzgerald was ?rst elected to
office in 2006, Deputy Shah was next in line for promotion to Corporal. Rather than honor the A
promotion system of his predecessor, Sheriff Fitzgerald chose Deputy Robert Sybert, who was
reputed to be an active supporter of the his campaign. He is still the supervisor of the
Landlord/Tenant division and has not received atransfer despite being in the same position for 10

years. Deputy Shah has not been promoted in 34 years. .

28 Recently, Sergeant Matthew Ware was promoted to fill the spot Cp vacated. He is not known to be a political
supporter of the Sheriff; however some witnesses have speculated that his promotion was made, in part, because
of investigation and questions the investigator was asking about Sheriff Fitzgerald and racism.
Lieutenant Ware is African?American. Many witnesses opined that Sergeant Baer was a more quali?ed choice
for Lieutenant because he is the only person to complete Federal training and has consistently scored highest on

departmental exams.

Page 35 of 48 Pages


The Howard County Code prohibits discrimination against any individual based his/her
Political Opinion. Political Opinion, as de?ned by the Howard County Code, are opinions a
person has that relate to 1) government, 2) the conduct of government, 3) political parties, 4)
candidates for election, or 5) elected office-holders. investigation revealed evidence to-
support Cp?s allegations of discrimination based on Political Opinion. OHR ?nds that persons,
who were not supportive of the Sheriff?s political campaign, and most especially Cp, were
subjected to discrimination via retaliatory work assignments, verbal berating, bullying and
abusive behaviorsto include sustained yelling and profanity that amounted to a severe and/or
pervasive hostile work environment. OHR assigns great weight to the fact that several current
employees refused to speak with investigator citing a very real fear that the Sheriff will
retaliate against them. It is apparent that they have good cause for concern as they witnessed,
?rst hand, the maltreatmenth received at the hands of the Sheriff, culminating in a diagnosis of
PTSD. Cp was a law enforcement veteran. He had successfully navigated numerous dif?cult
and horri?c situations during his career With the Police Department and several years at the
Sheriff? 3 Of?ce before Sheriff Fitzgerald was elected. Yet, after more than ?ve (5) years of
abusive treatment from Sheriff Fitzgerald, Cp had reached his limit.

Allegation Number 2: My beliefs are, and my creed is, to treat all others with civility, but the
Sheriff does not. He forgets he has given certain orders and then engages in a pattern of verbal
abuse, harassment and intimidation.

Finding Number 2: investigation substantiated these allegations.

Every person interviewed during the course of investigation found Cp to be above
reproach and absolutely ?150%? honest. Even the ?supporter? witnesses vouched for Cp?s
veracity and intelligence. They vouched for Cp?s integrity and described Cp as a person who
always. treats others with dignity and respect. On the other hand, a majority of thoseinterviewed
reported that the Sheriff?s was ?vindictive and abusive.? Many referred to Sheriff Fitzgerald as a
?narcissist.? .

In an effort to determine the probable Creed of the Sheriff, investigator reviewed
two complaints, made by two different citizens against Sheriff Fitzgerald. The ?rst,
coincidentally, was ?led on the same day that Cp was transferred from the Court House to the
Dorsey Building to assume ?purgatory? shift. The witness, then a 17-year resident of Howard

County, complained that:

Page 36 of 48 Pages

?My children and I were the victims of police misconduct at the hands of Sheriff James
Fitzgerald on Tuesday, August 10, 2010. As I was driving on route 29 headed North, I
noticed the Sheriff?s (marked) vehicle on my left as I approached the right lane. I
reviewed my speedometer and noticed I was within the speed limit as he was traveling
behind a slower moving vehicle. Prior to exiting on Interstate 70 I was pulled over by the
Sheriff who noted I was traveling 69 miles per hour in a 55 mile zone. The Sheriff in a
moving vehicle himself refused to answer how he ascertained my speed. I provided my
driver?s license and title [registration] and waited approximately 20 minutes. Upon his
return I made him aware that my 3 year old son was in dire need of a restroom. The
Sheriff ignored my request. He asked me to sign the citation, when I refused and asked
for a copy of the citation, he noted thatI needed to get an attorney on the phone as I was
violating Maryland law by refusing to sign. I called my husband and explained I had our
children in the car, the Sheriff refused to allow us to leave the scene, and our 3 year old
needed to use the restroom. In the meantime, my 3 year old son was in the backseat
screaming as he had begun to urinate on himself. . .as I began to cry, the Sheriff, who
showed no compassion, finally provided me a copy of the unsigned citation. . .. Sheriff
Fitzgerald used his position to intimidate; he falsi?ed documents-regarding my speed,
and showed a blatant disregard of my civil liberties.?

. In an interview with investigator, the woman said that the memory of this incident ?still
brings tears to my eyes. . .that he would treat a citizen that way!? She reported that when she and
her attorney went to court over the alleged speeding violation, Sheriff Fitzgerald failed to appear
and the case was dismissed.

Another incident occurred in 2011. This time it involved a visitor to our State. This
witness told investigator that she had been temporarily assigned to a job in Woodlawn
and was sitting at a stop light at Route 40 and Bethany Lane. After she went through the light,
she pulled over, hearing sirens from .an unmarked police vehicle behind her. She said the Deputy
(later determined to be the Sheri?) asked her in a loud, offensive manner: ?When does your plate
expire?? The witness had permanent tags from the State of Washington. She showed him the
registration and documentation indicating this. She said the Sheriff accused her of being
untruthful and said: ?I?ve never heard of such a thing!? She continued: ?He kept badgering me
and badgering me; he wouldn?t let 'me go even though I explained, that inWashington State,
permanent tags are given to Veterans. I kept asking him why he pulled me over!? He just told
me: can stop you for any reason and ask any questions I_want!? Then, the Sheriff noticed that
she appeared as ?power of attorney? for her husband on one of her documents. So, the Sheriff
began to ask about him. He asked the witness: ?Is your husband with you?? Exasperated she
took out her address book and showed Sheriff Fitzgerald the address of ?Tahoma National
Cemetery? and said: ?He died 10 months ago; I don?t think you will be able to talk to'him about

the registratibn.? At this point the witness said she ?had been badgered for 20 minutes.? She

Page 37 of 48 Pages

didn?t know what else to say to this belligerent man so she just stopped talking. ?He was
horrible! He interrogated me for no reason! He was threatening and intimidating.? She said
that: ?Every time he asked me a question I had the paperwork and the responses; but he just got
more and more angry and more belligerent with me! I had no clue why he did this to me!? She
reported that after arriving home to her apartment, just cried.?

Besides the overwhelming testimony regarding Cp?s decency and civility, from vast
majority of the witnesses interviewed by investigator above (to include the Sheriff; 3
supporters), Cp?s personnel ?le contains a card that seems to illustrate Cp?s Creed very well. It


Mr. Gable,

I just wanted to thank you for treating me so nicely when you came to my house. (My
house was the one with all of the deer- heads in the basement). You were such a nice-
person and made me feel like it was all going be okay, which it turned out to be. I really
appreciated your kindness, and I thank you very, very much. They should have more
nice people like you doing your job.

Thanks again.

Sincerely, AMS

One witness told investigator that Cp even treated prisoner transports with
respect. He recited an incident when Cp accompanied him on a long plane ride dating back to the
time before airlines provided earphones for free. He remembered Cp paid for the transport to
listen to a movie on the plane, out of his own pocket.

Cp alleged that when Sheriff Fitzgerald forgets orders, he engages in a pattern of verbal
abuse, harassment and intimidation against others. He cited an incident occurring on July 24,
2015, and alleged that the Sheriff screamed at him and Sergeant Baer, calling them thieves for an
on-call schedule. Apparently, the Sheriff had ordered on?call supervisors to cover after hours for
the Domestic Violence unit. There was already an on-call schedule for the Warrants unit. In any
event, Sheriff Fitzgerald testi?ed that he became very upset when he found out that one of the -
on-call supervisors received pay while he was vacationing 3 hours away. He screamed at Cp and
Sergeant Baer and accused them of being thieves. He pointed ?ngers at the men, yelling and
cursing at them. Cp said: ?This was the most intimidating meeting I have ever had with anyone
my entire life. I thought the Sheriff was going to come over the desk at us!? The Sheriff told
investigator that the on-call supervisor must be able to respond to an incident within 45
minutes and that this was the reason for his anger. However, witnesses said that only once, in 19
years, has an on-call supervisor had to actually appear at a scene; generally they simply respond
to the issue and assign action to a Deputy on duty. Even if the Sheriff did not want his on-call

supervisors to be more than 45 minutes away, and/or if he wanted the Domestic Violence and

Page 38 of 48 Pages

Warrant supervisor to be the same person, he did not give that order. Either way, an issue with
scheduling should not give rise to inappropriate intimidation, profanity and name calling. One
witness said: ?Fitz is a bully. He?s nasty. He yells at others all the time.?

investigation substantiated that Sheriff Fitzgerald also demeans the integrity of
the person by use of inappropriate humor based on racial stereotypes. Remarks that were
reported to investigator included when an African-American walked over to a buffet:
?There?s no watermelon there for you!? On another occasion, while eating with a group of
people, he turned to his African-American Deputy and sarcas?tically remarked: ?Are you getting
the ?chicken? special?? He told another witness that: ?The [African-American Deputies] are not
too smart but they get the job done.? He made a comment in front of several deputies when he
lost a bet over a football game to an African?American Deputy that he would have to buy I
?chicken? for him rather than purchasing the usual dozen donuts. Another witness reported that
he told Frank Gossam (who is African-American and president of the Retired Police Officer?s
Association) that: voted for ydur ?boy? Obama.?

More intriguing to investigator was Sheriff Fitzgerald?s use of the term ?number
one.? Apparently this is a classi?cation?system originated by the Department of Motor Vehicles
(DMV). Apparently, this term is commonly used in law enforcement to report the race of a
suspect involved in a crime. However, many witnesses reported that Sheriff Fitzgerald?s use of
this term was not simply to report race. When the Sheriff wants to know if a person someone is
talking about is African~American, he points his ?nger in the air and moves it around to ask:
?Are you talking about an African-American?? The Sheriff also uses a speci?c hand gesture to
denote when he is talking about African-Americans. Apparently, when in the company of small
audiences, the Sheriff draws his hand, palm facing toward his eyes, down and over his face.
Even though Sheriff Fitzgerald denied that he ever makes such a gesture, Major V011 didn?t,he_
even demonstrated it for investigator. OHR ?nds that his use Of these gestures, outside of
the reporting process, is akin to racist pro?ling. Other witnesses reported that he often describes
African?Americans as ?Niggers.? Mr. Robbins, who is African-American, also reported that
others had reported to him that Sheriff Fitzgerald uses the 'word and has disparaged him in

The Howard County Code prohibits discrimination based on a person?s Creed, as
generally de?ned. A Creed is a system of closely held beliefs that result in consistent and
conforming actions in the life of the person. Cp alleges his personal Creed is to treat other people
with dignity and respect at all times. Witnesses described Cp to be a decent and kind man to

everyone he worked with and those he served. The Sheriff?s actions towards others (including

Page 39 of 48 Pages

but not limited to his perceived political detractors) is opposite. He was universally described as
vindictive, arrogant, narcissistic, rude, belligerent, nasty, and intimidating. Many said that
Sheriff Fitzgerald is not interested in the betterment of the Sheriff?s Of?ce or the good of the
County; he is only interested in his own power and likes to abuse it. Two witnesses told
investigator that Sheriff Fitzgerald ?led the Police Department? in misconduct complaints before
he was elected Sheriff. If actions are evidence of Creed, Sheriff?s Creed would not be to treat

everyone with dignity; he only treats those whom he favors with dignity.

Allegation Number 3: I am 64 and he treats me and the others in this older age group less

favorably. He routinely engages in a pattern and practice of verbal abuse and intimidation, which
has created a hostile work environment. In addition, he has made derogatory comments, epithets
and slurs towards employees, colleagues, citizens and other government official-swho are female,
black, gay, Asian, 01' Jewish.

Finding Number 3: investigation substantiated these allegations in part but not as a


First, investigation substantiated that Sheriff Fitzgerald has also made
derogatory comments about females and Jewish people. One witness said that he made
unfavorable comments about female breasts. Another said that the Sheriff referred to Howard
County?s prior County Executive, Ken Ulman, as a ?little Kenny Jew-boy.?

Second, investigation was unable to substantiate that Sheriff Fitzgerald treated
older employees less favorably than younger employees. The average age of the sworn staff is
55. Most have previously retired from various police departments or other law enforcement
agencies. Cp alleged that he thonght Sheriff Fitzgerald targeted older employees because they
were closer to retirement and he could get rid of them easier. . . .they didn?t have to put up with his
abuse to support their families. While this may be true to some extent because his tactics seemed
to have worked to get Deputy McGuirk, Lieutenant Roles and Cp to leave, the evidence did not
show that the Sheriff only targeted those nearing retirement. Therefore, OHR was unable to ?nd
that. Sheriff Fitzgerald discriminated against Cp because of his age. It seems more likely that he

targeted people who opposed his politics did not share in his creed.

Allegation Number 4: II have been out on sick leave since August 10, 2015. He has ordered me

to return my gun, badge, id and cell phone on September, 17, 2015. I obeyed this order. Ifeel this

action is retaliatory since the Sheriff is selectively enforcing his General Orders on me.

Page 40 of 48 Pages

Finding Number 4: investigation substantiated these allegations in part but not as a

First, investigation substantiated that Cp has been out on sick leave from August
10, 2015 and that, rather than return to work when his FMLA ran out, Cp retired in February,
2016. The evidence showed that, immediately after he left on August 7, 2015, Cp sought
medical help and was shortly thereafter diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
resulting from years of harassment directed toward him by Sheriff Fitzgerald.

Sheriff Fitzgerald testi?ed that he thought Cp was ?childish? and should have returned.
HoWever, Cp?s doctor reported that the environment was too hostile for him to return. The series
of events described in Finding #1 herein include the fact that Cp sought for help from physicians,
therapists, County Administration and OHR. He ?led a Worker?s Compensation Claim on or
about August 11, 2015. He also received FMLA leave on September 11, 2015. Major Voll
signed both of these documents.

According to evidence received by investigator, Sheriff Fitzgerald issued
Personnel Order 15-09 on September 17, 2015 which said: ?Effective immediately the Sheriff
orders Lt. Gable to return his gun, badge, id and cell phone per General Order Adm-18
Disability, Section Fitness Categories B. Temporaly Duty 5b.? Cp complied and ?led his
Charge of Discrimination the next day, alleging retaliation 0n the part of Sheriff Fitzgerald.

investigator asked both Sheriff Fitzgerald and Major Voll why they felt it was
necessary to take Cp?s gun and badge while he was out on sick leave. Major Voll said that the
policy was that: ?if you are off more than ?ve (5) days-you turn in your gun, car and badge. In
his interview with investigator, Sergeant Granger testi?ed that the Sheriff 01' the Major
could take Deputy Sheriff?s gun and badge for mental or health-related reasons if there is a safety
issue and they deem it is in the best interest of the Of?ce. Sheriff Fitzgerald told
investigator that he knew Cp was out on sick leave but had no idea what was wrong with
Charlie just didn?t know!? He also said that, because it involved a medical issue, it
wasn?t his place to ask anything about why he was out on leave.

A. review of the above _cited General Order Adm-18 relates to actions the Sheriff may
take in the event a deputy sheriff is temporarily unable to perform the full scope and duties of the
position. The section (Temporary Duty 5b) which is cited as the basis for the Personnel Order

issued against Cp states:

Page 41 of 48 Pages

?If the duration is expected to be more than ?ve (5) consecutive work days, the
Supervisor will confer with the appropriate Division Commander to determine what
further personnel action, if rm y, will be taken. A?er evaluating various factors, such as
the Deputy?s ability to handle a weapon, operate an HCSO [Howard County Sheriff?s
Of?ce] vehicle, make an arrest, deal with the public, etc., a determination will be made as
to what restrictions apply.? Moreover, this policy is to be ?taken on a case-by?case basis
in order to best meet the needs of the deputy, the community, and the

Cp alleged that the Sheriff?s order essentially stripped him of his police powers. He was
devastated when he had to surrender his gun and badge after only being absent for ?ve (5) weeks;
especially when other Deputies had been out on sick leave for much longer time periods for back
and heart surgeries that clearly would have prevented them from driving or handling a weapon.
He felt that the Sheriff was targeting him and alleged that he was retaliating against him because
he knew that he had alleged abuse and intended to ?le a Charge of Discrimination against the

. Sheriff.

investigation supports this conclusion. Neither Sheriff Fitzgerald nor Major Voll
provided any evidence that they investigated, or even discussed, whether or not the action was in
the best interest of Cp, the community or the Sheriff?s Of?ce. They gave no indication that they
looked at the various factors enumerated in the policy, i.e. discussing or requesting proof from
Cp that he' could operate a car, his ?rearm or make an arrest. con?rmed that, even
though the Sheriff could not ?decertify? Cp, the action by the Sheriff was essentially the same as
taking'away his police powers; powers that Cp had safeguarded during his 42-year career in law
enforcement. I

The timing of these events leads OHR to conclude that it is more likely than not that
Sheriff Fitzgerald took Cp?s gun, badge, car and ID. in retaliation for Cp?s allegations of
discriminatiOn. On August 11, 2015, Major Voll submitted the Worker?s Comp Claim on behalf
of Cp and wrote: received a phone call from Lt. Gable requesting to go home sick because
Sheriff Fitzgerald came to his of?ce yelling and talking to him like a dog. He stated enough of
his abuse and going home.? Cp alleged that Major Voll knew he was ?ling a Charge with
Major Voll denied it. However, even Lieutenant Knott knew about Cp?s visit to OHR.
Lieutenant Knott told investigator that he was aware that Cp had initiated the process
with OHR before the Sheriff decided to take Cp?s gun and badge. Based on the foregoing, OHR
?nds that because both Maj or V011 and Lieutenant Knott knew about Cp?s intent to ?le a Charge
of Discrimination against Rp, it is also very likely that the Sheriff knew. OHR ?nds that the

Page 42 of 48 Pages

Sheriff retaliated against Cp by taking away the only thing he had left. . .his identity as an of?cer

who had been sworn to protect and defend the Howard County community for 42 years.

A. Reasonable Cause Finding Workplace Harassment -- Political Opinion (did
not support Sheriff for re?election) and Creed (treating others with diggiitv and
respect at all times)

Harassment is any unwelcome verbal or physical conduct that is based on one of
the protected bases covered by the Howard County Code when the conduct is severe
or pervasive enough to create a Work environment that a reasonable person would
consider intimidating, hostile, or abusive. The Howard County Code bars unwanted
conduct that would seriously affect a reasonable person's well-being
and applies to situations that would reasonably be perceived, and are perceived, as
hostile or abusive. Moreover, in the case of Vance v. Ball State Univ. et al.. 570 US.

{20131, the Supreme Court held that if the victim?s ?supervisor? is the cause of the
harassment, and that harassment culminates in a tangible employment action ?a
signi?cant change in employment status, such as hiring, ?ring, failing to promote,
reassignment with signi?cantly different responsibilities, or a decision causing a
signi?cant change in benefits,? Burlington Industries, Inc. v. Ellerth, 524 U. S. 742,
7?61, the employer is strictly liable.

The circumstances of this case gives rise to a ?nding that Rp is strictly liable for
causing severe and pervasive workplace harassment against Cp based on his
protected status under the Howard County Code. In this case, OHR found that Cp
was subjected to unwelcome verbal abuse, berating and profanityHIaced remarks by
his supervisor, Sheriff Fitzgerald, due to his protected status (Political Opinion and
Creed) for almost ?ve (5) years. OHR found the Sheriff intentionally created an

. abusive and hostile work environment toward Cp when he began to berate and
verbally abuse Cp after ?nding that Cp did not support his second political campaign.
The Sheriff effected a tangible and negative employment action against Cp when he
changed his work schedule to the afternoon shift and the reasons given for the action
were pretextual and/0r not supported by the evidence. Then, on August 7, 2015, Cp
had reached his limit. After the Sheriff screamed at Cp for between 10 and 20

minutes in a profanity-laced lashing over a scheduling decision at the Of?ce, Cp was

Page 43 of 48 Pages

placed on FMLA leave and diagnosed with PTSD. He could no longer perform the
functions of his job and his doctors attributed it directly to the Sheriff?s abusive
behaviors. OHR also found the Sheriff?s conduct was objectively offensive to others
who had witnessed or experienced similar abusive behaviors and was subjectively
offensive to Cp because he could no longer tolerate the Sheriffs bigotry, bullying

and temper tantrums; conduct he considered to be ?unbecoming of an of?cer.?29

. Reasonable Cause Finding -- Discrimination Dismarate Treatment Political
Opinion and Creed I

A person alleging discrimination may prove their case either by direct evidence
of discrimination or indirect evidence of discrimination. In this case, Cp has not
alleged, nor has OHR discovered any direct evidence of discrimination, e.g. a'direct
statement from the Sheriff demonstrating a motivation to discriminate against Cp. In
the- present case, Cp has attempted to establish disparate treatment through
circumstantial evidence. Disparate treatment is generally de?ned as an intentional act
that discriminates against an individual based upon his/her membership in a protected -
class race, sex, age, etc.) or retaliation against an individual for engaging in
protected activities.

To determine whether there has been disparate treatment via circumstantial
evidence, the Courts have employed a three-part analysis set forth in McDonnell
Douglas v. Green, 411 U.S. 792 (1973]. Under the McDonnell analysis the following
A elements have to be established: 1) Cp must demonstrate a prima facie case of
discrimination; 2) Rp must articulate a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason; and 3)
Cp must demonstrate that Rp?s reason is pretextual for unlawful discrimination.
Under the McDonnell analysis, the ultimate burden of persuasion rests upon the Cp._

OHR found that Cp established a prima facie case of discrimination, and the

evidence supported ?nding that Cp was treated much less favorably than the

29 Witnesses have reported that, since the inception of OHR's investigation, Sheriff Fitzgerald has ?toned down?
his demeanor toward those he expressed some level 0f hostility. They also report that he is not often found in
the of?ce. Many believe that the Sheriff may be ?laying low? in an attempt to ?ride out" his ?nal two years in
of?ce. They are concerned that the Sheriff will treat his political detractors somewhat fairly until he only has
about a few months left in his term, at which time they fear ?all hell will break lose" and the Sheriff will
retaliate against those who are still working for the Sheriff?s Of?ce and especially harassing and harming those
whom the Sheri? thinks may have talked with investigator. Witnesses are afraid of what the Sheriff
might do to the remaining employees and are concerned that they will experience an escalated level of verbal
harassment, unfair manipulation of work schedules andfor the Sheriff will place a negative report on their
service records should they resign before he leaves. One witness said: ?Any punishment Fitz gets is too little

too late. He?s that kind of person.?

Page 44 of 48 Pages

Sheriffs political supporters. Moreover, OHR found that the reasons given by
Sheriff Fitzgerald and Major V011 for creating a late schedule for Cp was pretextual.
OHR could find no justi?able business reason for placing Cp on this schedule when
no other Commander had ever been placed on the schedule before (or since). The
evidence also showed that the Sheriff?s cencerns for supervision could have been
easily handled by putting Cp?s start time back one-half hour or assigning supervisors
he commanded to a later shift. Finally, the evidence also showed that because Cp no
longer supported the Sheriff campaign, he was subjected to berating and bullying
tactics that included the use of profanity, intimidation and other conduct that was
both objectively and subjectively offensive to Cp and amounted to conduct

unbecoming an of?cer.

. Discrimination Constructive Discharge

In order to prove a case of constructive discharge, Cp must show that the
harassment he was made to endure was so severe and/or pervasive that any
reasonable person would have quit. The evidence showed that Cp sought help from
his physician who diagnosed Cp with PTSD and directly attributed Cp?s condition to
Sheriff Fitzgerald. Under the circumstances of this case, there is little doubt that Cp
acted as a reasonable person and was constructively discharged. Others also reported
that they could no longer work for the Sheriff for exactly the same reasons cited by

Cp and substantiated by investigation.

. Retaliation for Engaging in a Protected Act (complaining of discrimination)

In order to prove a case of retaliation, Cp has the burden of showing that he
engaged in a protected act and that there was a causal connection between the
protected act and the Sheriff?s later actions of discrimination/negative employment
action against Cp. Cp has met that burden.

In the present case, Cp alleged that he was retaliated against when the Sheriff
issued an order taking his gun and badge. This order had never been enforced against
anyone who had been on extended sick leave before. The Sheriff and Major Vol]
offered no evidence that they followed their own policy in discussing whether or not
this action was in the best interest of Cp, the community or the Sheriffs Of?ce.
There was no evidence that the Sheriff even inquired as to whether or not Cp could

operate a car, his ?rearm or make an arrest; all criteria set forth by the policy the

Page 45 of 48 Pages

Sheriff cited as the basis for his retaliat01y action against Cp. The facts in this case
support the conclusion that the Sheriff acted maliciously toward Cp when he took
Cp?s gun and badge all because the Sheriff likely heard that Cp complained about the
hostile work environment and had spoken to OHR about ?ling a Charge of


. No Reasonable Cause Finding - Age

In cases ?led under The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), a -
Complainant must ?rst present a prima facie case of discrimination. Case law has
de?ned a prima facie case as that minimum amount of evidence necessaly to raise a
legitimate question of discrimination. While Cp presented a prima facie case, the
investigation of this matter could not substantiate it. Many of the members of the
staff are'in Cp?s protected age category; over 40 years of age. In fact, because many
of the Deputies come to the Of?ce after retiring from other law enforcement
agencies, the average age of the staff is approximatelySS years of age. Therefore,
investigation was unable to conclude that Cp was discriminated against based

on his age (64).

. Determination

Many of the allegations of abusive conduct which "Were investigated by OI-IR
occurred more than six (6) months prior to the time that Cp filed his Charge of
I Discrimination. However, OI-IR ?nds that the "continuing violation" doctrine
overrides the statute of limitations in this case because the true character and
enormity of the discriminatory harassmenth endured was not fully appreciated until
Cp was constructively discharged from his employment and diagnosed with PTSD in
August, 2015. The continuing violations doctrine, which typically arises in the
context of employment discrimination, permits employees to recover for
discriminatory acts, such as harassment or promotion denials, which fall outside the
limitations period, as long as part of a "continuing violation" is within the period. In
this case, OHR found that the August 7, 2015, tirade that forced Cp to go out on
FMLA and the Sheriff?s retaliatory act to take Cp?s gun and badge on September 17,
2015, were the last of a series of related acts constituting severe and pervasive

workplace harassment. Pegram v. Honeywell, Inc.. 361 F.3d 272, 279 5th Cir.

Page 46 of 48 Pages

Therefore, OHR ?nds reasonable cause to believe that Cp was discriminated
against based on his Political Opinion and Creed and that he was subjected to a
severe and pervasive workplace environment and was constructively discharged from
his employment at the Sheriff?s Of?ce. OHR also ?nds reasonable cause to believe
that Cp was retaliated against in the workplace for complaining about the
discrimination. OHR ?nds no reasonable cause to believe that Cp was discriminated

against based on his age.


Within 30 days of a ?nding of reasonable causeto believe that a violation of this subtitle
may have occurred, the Administrator shall attempt to rectify the violation by conference,
conciliation and persuasion. Any Conciliation Agreement for the elimination of the violation
shall be reduced to a legally enforceable written instrument signed by the Complainant,

Respondent, and the Administrator or their authorized Managers.


The Complainant may appeal the attached Decision and Order by submitting a request in
writing for an Administrative Hearing to the Howard County Human Rights Commission (HRC).
Your request must be received by the IRC within 20 days of the date of these Findings (5M
before September 21, 2016.) The HRC shall determine, after meeting and reviewing written
statements ?led by other parties, whether the Commission will hold a hearing. The HRC may
decide to hear an appeal if good cause is shown and if it determines that such an appeal is in the
public interest. An Appeal fOr an Administrative Hearing must:

be in writing,

state what portion of the Administrator?s Findings is being appealed,
list the reasons for the appeal, and

be addressed to:

Chair I

Howard County Human Rights Commission
6751 Columbia Gateway Drive, Suite 239
Columbia, MD 21046


To the Complainant: Your case was originally cross-?led with the Equal Employment

Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Therefore, EEOC regulations entitle you to request that the

Page 47 of 48 Pages

EEOC review the investigative agency?s final ?ndings. You may request a
?Substantial Weight Review,? in writing, within 15 daysof the closure of your case by
and/or HRC. This request for a Substantial Weight Review must be sent to:

MS. Natasha Abel

State and Local Program Manager

801 Market Street, 13th Floor

Philadelphia, PA 19107 -


Date Submitted


Cheryl M. Brewer, Investigator

ml, sip/29

Dfate App{oved

Barbara J. San ?ministrator

Page 48 of 48 Pages