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HomeNewsArchivesCOURT ORDERS STAPLETON, 3 OTHER FIRED V.I. EMPLOYEES REINSTATED

COURT ORDERS STAPLETON, 3 OTHER FIRED V.I. EMPLOYEES REINSTATED

Seventeen former government officials fired by the Turnbull administration appeared in U.S. District Court on Tuesday to seek reinstatement. In the first day of the proceedings, four of them were successful.
In their class-action lawsuit, the former employees claim political discrimination in the firings.
About a dozen of them took turns on the witness stand Tuesday, telling Judge Raymond Finch what duties they had held prior to dismissal and what part they had taken in the re-election campaign of former Gov. Roy L. Schneider.
After their testimony, the judge ordered four officials rehired under sealed agreements. One of the four was former Democratic Party state chair Marylyn Stapleton, who also was forced out of the party chairmanship, which was taken over by James O'Bryan Jr., now a special advisor to the governor.
Testimony was to continue on Wednesday in the cases of the other 13 plaintiffs.
The lawsuit contends that government workers who do not hold policymaking positions have the right to campaign for the candidate of their choice without fear of penalty.
"The only thing that ties it all together is that they are the entire upper level of the 'Re-elect Schneider Committee,'" said Attorney James Derr, representing the plaintiffs.
Derr said 10 dismissed government workers in the St. Croix District are taking similar legal action.
Representing the governor in court Tuesday were Government House legal counsel Rhys Hodge and Assistant Attorney General Karrie Drue.
On Wednesday, Turnbull and his chief of staff, Juel Molloy, are scheduled to testify. Derr said he expects to question them about the disloyalty dismissals and about new hires they've made since taking office in January.

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Seventeen former government officials fired by the Turnbull administration appeared in U.S. District Court on Tuesday to seek reinstatement. In the first day of the proceedings, four of them were successful.
In their class-action lawsuit, the former employees claim political discrimination in the firings.
About a dozen of them took turns on the witness stand Tuesday, telling Judge Raymond Finch what duties they had held prior to dismissal and what part they had taken in the re-election campaign of former Gov. Roy L. Schneider.
After their testimony, the judge ordered four officials rehired under sealed agreements. One of the four was former Democratic Party state chair Marylyn Stapleton, who also was forced out of the party chairmanship, which was taken over by James O'Bryan Jr., now a special advisor to the governor.
Testimony was to continue on Wednesday in the cases of the other 13 plaintiffs.
The lawsuit contends that government workers who do not hold policymaking positions have the right to campaign for the candidate of their choice without fear of penalty.
"The only thing that ties it all together is that they are the entire upper level of the 'Re-elect Schneider Committee,'" said Attorney James Derr, representing the plaintiffs.
Derr said 10 dismissed government workers in the St. Croix District are taking similar legal action.
Representing the governor in court Tuesday were Government House legal counsel Rhys Hodge and Assistant Attorney General Karrie Drue.
On Wednesday, Turnbull and his chief of staff, Juel Molloy, are scheduled to testify. Derr said he expects to question them about the disloyalty dismissals and about new hires they've made since taking office in January.