Thursday, June 20, 2024

Don’t miss The Cambridge Chronicle’s piece on the origins of the civil rights lawsuits filed by former city employees Linda Stamper and Mary Wong, including what looks to be another charge of conflict of interest — this time by the city’s own lawyers.

These lawsuits were settled last month for amounts that haven’t been disclosed, and the city’s internal discussions on the matters remain secret.

The settlements followed the $8.3 million awarded another former city employee and woman of color, Malvina Monteiro, who claimed the same kinds of discrimination and retaliation by her managers at City Hall.

The payout in the Monteiro case grew dramatically in dollar amount because City Manager Robert W. Healy decided to twice appeal a jury’s guilty verdict — controversial because Healy was involved in the lawsuit, making his role in deciding how to pursue the case appear to be a conflict of interest.

Another apparent conflict emerges in the Chronicle’s reporting on the Stamper case by Scott Wachtler. Stamper worked in the city’s Law Department for seven years starting in 1992, during which time she was to serve with attorney Nancy Glowa, described as younger than Stamper and junior to her, in a case. Glowa reportedly refused to be seen in court as “second-seat” to Stamper.

Wachtler writes:

According to the complaint, [City Solicitor Don] Drisdell looked shocked, but said nothing, and allowed Glowa to handle the trial herself with no reprimand for her apparent belief that her reputation would be diminished if she were seen to be second-seating an African-American woman who was senior to her in the department.

When the Monteiro case went to trial, Glowa sat at the counsel table throughout, said Ellen Zucker, the Burns & Levinson attorney who represented Stamper, Wong and Monteiro. Wachtler writes that, according to Zucker,  “Glowa was also the attorney present at the internal hearing prior to Monteiro’s firing.” Joan A. Lukey represented the city, first as a lawyer with WilmerHale and then of Ropes & Gray.

In a conversation last week, Cambridge attorney Richard Clarey said city lawyers worked with Lukey to keep down what the city would ultimately owe the attorney in fees.

The Law Department’s Drisdell and Arthur Goldberg, first assistant city solicitor, have not answered messages left by Cambridge Day over the past two days via e-mail, voice mail and with an office assistant.