Councilman-at-large James Handy contends he voted to fire former city clerk Gary Margiotta on the basis of three alleged instances of insubordination, according to Handy’s deposition in Margiotta’s wrongful termination lawsuit.
One of the instances of purported insubordination, dating to sometime in 2005, stemmed from Handy’s brother being denied a marriage license by Margiotta because the brother came in after the daily 3 p.m. license application deadline.
Handy testified that he and former Mayor Frank La Porta spoke to Margiotta about the instance and Margiotta, Handy said, “accused me of stiff-arming him…which wasn’t at all the case.” In the deposition questioning, Margiotta’s lawyer, Elmer Robert Keach III, asked if the term stiff-arming could be interpreted as “trying to get favoritism for your brother.”
Handy said Margiotta was never formally reprimanded either for that instance or alleged incidents in 2006 that included exhibiting “attitude” when he informed Handy it was Handy’s duty and not the clerk’s to keep track of tabled resolutions and later, in the fall of 2006, when Handy said Margiotta raised his voice while allegedly criticizing the Common Council for failing to give then-Deputy Clerk Brenda Pedrick a raise commensurate with her years of service.
Handy declined comment Tuesday on his deposition and on comments by Keach.
Margiotta, a 16-year city staffer, was escorted from his office by a police officer Dec. 29, 2006, just days before his scheduled reappointment. Handy and Mayor Tim Hughes stood by as Margiotta was given some time to gather his belongings. Several days later, Handy and his three council allies, voted against his reappointment. The three minority block members of the council have never been given an explanation for the firing.
Keach contends Margiotta was fired because he gave controversial former councilwoman Shirley Savage access to city records. Savage often used documents she obtained to criticize Hughes and other city officials.
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