December 28, 2016

The Update Desk: Grains of Salt (v9): More Fitzing Around

I love when I can update two old stories about our DA-for-Life Bill Fitzpatrick in the same week.

You may recall earlier this year Fitz fired Gigi Potocki, a victim assistance coordinator in his office, after several administrative charges were filed against her by one of the DA's investigators.  Seems Potocki had been assisting a woman who alleged abuse against the investigator's son, which did not sit well.  An arbitrator determined Potocki was wrongfully terminated and was entitled to back pay of some $70,000 and get her job back.

Onondaga County appealed the arbitrator's decision, and at the time of the original post back in May, Potocki hadn't been paid or rehired. The County had offered health benefits and a year's salary in exchange for a non-disclosure statement, something she didn't want to do.

At the time, Fitz was his usual quotable self, questioning "why she'd want to return to a place she says is so terrible" and he offered this, referring to the retirement of Potocki's corroborating witness:
Former Investigator McCarthy, after 40 years of public service, has decided to collect his pension and retire. Who can blame him when he has to deal with crap like this.
To which I wondered 
Why do we keep re-electing Fitz, when we have to deal with crap like this?

Well, here we are, seven month later, and we have an update. According to an article from a few days before the holiday, Potocki came out the winner - again.
The Onondaga County District Attorney's office must rehire a victim's advocate who says she was fired for trying to help a victim, a judge has ruled.
Gigi Potocki must be reinstated with back pay dating to July 2014, when she was fired over allegations of misconduct, State Supreme Court Justice Spencer Ludington ruled last week.
She expects to receive about $115,000 for the 2 1/2 years she's been out of her job as the DA's victim assistance coordinator. 
In his decision, the judge noted that the County had "refused to comply" with the arbitrator's decision, something that still concerns Potocki, who hoped to be back at work soon.
They ignored the arbitrator's order to make me whole and resume my employment. What kind of example are they setting? They are supposed to set the example and be the pillars of justice in our community. Do they laws they uphold not apply to them?
Only time will tell.

The County has the right to appeal Ludington's decision; the County's attorney was awaiting direction from the DA's office.