Female Employee Alleges 'Toxic' Work Environment Under Leopold

Three female former employees have now testified against Leopold.

An Anne Arundel County employee working under County Executive John R. Leopold detailed an alleged "toxic" work environment in a signed affidavit.

The affidavit was signed Sept. 1 by Carla Sagerholm, the county's community services manager. She testified that she is on medical leave after suffering post-traumatic stress syndrome from what she calls a "toxic environment at the Executive Offices." 

"We appear to be constantly watched for any behavior or acts that might reveal 'disloyalty,'" according to the affidavit.

Sagerholm's affidavit was first reported on by WBAL TV, and the full document can be read on its website.

Leopold and the county are currently facing two potentially costly litigations from 

Karla Hamner and Joan Harris are each pursuing cases against the county in U.S. District Court on grounds of wrongful termination. Hamner is seeking $300,000, and Harris is seeking nearly $1 million.

Sagerholm's testimony was added to Hamner's lawsuit against Leopold and the county. She said she's lived in fear for her job ever since she allegedly witnessed top county officials ordering Harris to be fired for speaking with Hamner's attorney.

A spokesman for the county executive told Patch he had no comment about Sagerholm.

In August, The Capital reported that three Anne Arundel County police officers testified that Leopold allegedly ordered the firing of an employee over a complaint about his behavior. Their testimony was also added to Hamner's case.

In light of these cases, Anne Arundel County Councilmen Jamie Benoit (D-4th District) of Crownsville and Jerry Walker (R-7th District) of Gambrills are reviving over $100,000. The second piece of legislation would empower the county attorney to pursue reimbursement.

Public hearings for both bills is set for Sept. 18.

Amy Leahy September 08, 2012 at 12:17 AM
Patsy; No Jerry Walker does not attend that church. Get your facts straight before trying to muddy up the waters. He also was not on the county council during that time so please do not try to disparage him. Patrick H. - The whole thing is a matter of public record, first of all. Second….the county is self-insured and really….this is why the public needs to PAY ATTENTION to what our elected officials are doing. Unfortunately too many of us would rather watch reality T.V. than pay attention to what the government is doing to our lives.
My Opinion September 11, 2012 at 12:46 PM
Dear Mr. Smith...it is "My Opinion" that the lawyers should decide what the settlement should be or the Judge if it goes to court...."elected officials" should not be a part of the settlement...they should obey the laws they pass and not think that they are above the laws they pass......just my opinion ....money is just a small price to pay a person who has been offended by this and any other administration and, as a taxpayer, I will gladly pay that offended person should the court award them!
My Opinion September 11, 2012 at 12:51 PM
Amy, if the County accepts an "out of court settlement" then, and it is my opinion, the County knows it will lose the case. In many cases even though the Administration knows it will lose the case, they continue to spend taxpayer's money appealing the case till it reaches the ultimate conclusion. This process costs us, the taxpayers, millions of dollars. But hey it isn't "their" money it is OURS but the politics dictates the fight....and so it goes....
My Opinion September 11, 2012 at 12:53 PM
Amy: Well stated! :)
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