Thirty deputy city attorneys were terminated August 31, although some were apparently hired back. Bruce Henderson, one of those separated, believes his firing "was the result of discrimination against me based on my age (74), my race (white), and my gender (male)." He believes that most, if not all of those dropped, were older white males.
Those booted off the payroll were provisional employees who already have retirement benefits from the city, so it stands to reason that they are older. Henderson gets retirement benefits, having served on the city council from 1987 through 1991. He suspects that the mass sacking may have been one way to deal with wage disparities impacting female employees.
Gerry Braun, spokesman for the city attorney's office, says, "We are reviewing his complaint." Henderson filed it with Human Relations and Risk Management departments.
Henderson points out that the city charter states that no deputy city attorney who has served continuously for at least a year "shall be terminated or suspended without good cause." Henderson has been a deputy city attorney for more than ten years.
There are exceptions — a lack of work or budgetary constraints. But Henderson says there is plenty of work, and the office is hiring many new employees, particularly some under 30 years of age. The budget will rise from $46.1 million in fiscal 2017 to $49.7 million in fiscal 2018.
Henderson believes his firing is a violation of the city charter, but he says he won't file suit until he gets a response to his complaint.