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Former Richmond official Sharon Judkins files discrimination complaint

Former Richmond Deputy Chief Administrative Officer (DCAO) Sharon Judkins

Former Richmond Deputy Chief Administrative Officer (DCAO) Sharon Judkins

RICHMOND, Va. — Sharon Judkins, former Richmond Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for Finance and Administration, has filed a complaint against the City of Richmond, according to an email correspondence obtained by CBS 6.

An email from City Attorney Allen L. Jackson indicates that Wednesday morning the city received a charge of race and gender discrimination issued by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, on behalf of Judkins.

It typically would be at least several months before its investigation actually commences, and we currently anticipate handling the proceedings as in the ordinary course of business,” Jackson writes in the letter. “However, should the need arise, I recommend that you treat the matter as though it already is in litigation.”

Judkins used to oversee the city’s finance department, and her last day was Friday, May 16.

Judkins came under fire in December of 2013 for rejecting all of the recommendations made by the city auditor regarding the Richmond Department of Information Technology’s $18 million information technology system (RAPIDS). However, she later reversed course and accepted three out of the seven recommendations.

Shortly after Judkins departure was confirmed, an anonymous tip to Richmond City Auditor Umesh Dalal  sparked a two-week investigation into why Judkins was given more than $400,000 on her way out the door, thanks to some unusual bookkeeping.

Dalal said his most recent investigation into Judkins uncovered Richmond Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Byron Marshall allowed Judkins to get credit for more than 800 hours of unused sick time she collected during a previous 19-year career in the city of Richmond. Judkins returned to City Hall when Marshall hired her in 2012.

Judkins and Marshall met while serving together on the same board of a professional organization, Dalal noted. He found it was highly irregular for the city to give an employee credit for past time spent in between city jobs.

“Restoring unused sick leave from prior employment appears to be a unique transaction, which the CAO entered into for the sole benefit of the DCAO,” Dalal wrote in his report. “In addition, the transaction does not comply with the City’s Code of Ethics.”

Dalal said he recommended the Mayor’s Office work with the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office to determine what, if any, laws had been broken.

In addition to the unused sick time, Dalal found Judkins was credited for an additional 147.2 hours of vacation time on a single day, February 28, 2014.

“Further investigation revealed that this adjustment was done erroneously by an untrained Finance Department employee who was not supervised appropriately,” Dalal wrote. “The City Controller to whom this employee reported to did not review or verify the accuracy of this adjustment. The Finance employee’s error accrued additional vacation benefit to the DCAO valued at $11,766. This error must be reversed.”

However, Marshall now says his recent decision to grant Judkins’s unused sick time was a mistake.  Marshall has since recommended not paying Judkins for those 800 sick hours. He says the hours were granted in error. Marshall also explains that his decision to approve the sick hours was based upon flawed advice given to him by the city’s Human Resources department.

Mayor Dwight Jones, concerned about the auditor’s report, is now putting the matter in the hands of Commonwealth’s Attorney Mike Herring. Jones wants Herring to determine if there was any criminal wrongdoing.

Norman Butts was recenlty named Deputy Chief Administrative Officer (DCAO) for Finance and Administration. Butts comes to Richmond from Leesburg, Virginia where he served as Director of Finance.

Depend on CBS 6 and WTVR.com for updates to this developing story.

 

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