Campbell worker remains on job
By Peter H. Milliken
Campbell will be barred from firing a city water-treatment plant operator until a further court order is issued.
Magistrate Timothy Welsh had issued the temporary restraining order barring the discharge of Donald Jackson two weeks ago.
The magistrate extended that TRO indefinitely at the end of a Wednesday court hearing, with lawyers for Jackson and the city agreeing to the extension.
Lawyers for Jackson and the city will have until Aug. 10 to file written post-hearing briefs with the court.
Jackson was hired by then-mayor George Krinos last Oct. 18 as a provisional employee, but the city civil-service commission recommended that his employment be terminated because he failed the civil-service exam that was given March 21 for his job.
Jackson said in the lawsuit that the test can’t be used as the basis for firing him because it wasn’t given in accordance with the city charter.
The charter says the professional examiner who prepares and grades the test also must administer it, Jackson said.
However, the examiner, Richard Groucutt, who wrote the test, lives in Florida and sent the test to the city.
In Wednesday’s hearing, Anthony Matash, a Campbell civil- service commission member, testified he administered the test under Groucutt’s direction.
However, Matash acknowledged that he is neither a professional examiner nor an employee of Groucutt’s.
Jackson testified that Mayor William Van Such told him two to three months ago that his termination was likely. “He more or less said that he has no other choice but to get rid of me,” Jackson testified.
However, Van Such testified that no decision has yet been made on the matter. “I would have to talk to the supervisor who’s down in the water plant and the director of administration, who is the plant manager, before I would make a decision like that,” Van Such said.
The city’s daily cost of keeping Jackson employed in his full-time job is $171, the mayor said. Jackson is under a one-year probationary period, the mayor said.
The city has been in fiscal emergency since 2004, the mayor said, adding that he did not know when that status will end.
In his complaint, Jackson said he can only be terminated for unsatisfactory job performance, and he testified that his supervisor has not criticized his work or written him up for any infractions.