- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 14, 2005

ANNAPOLIS (AP) — The Maryland Court of Appeals has reversed a lower court’s order to reinstate a former employee with the Public Service Commission who said her firing was politically motivated.

Chrys Wilson, a Democrat, had said she was fired by the commission’s Republican chairman in April 2004, not long after he was appointed and confirmed in the post.

She successfully fought her dismissal in October, was reinstated, but fired again.

The state’s highest court agreed Tuesday that the first firing was unlawful because Chairman Kenneth Schisler acted alone. But the court upheld the second dismissal because a majority of the commission voted for it.

“Obviously, it is illegal to fire someone for political motivation, but the court didn’t give any credence to the unfounded accusations that these people were fired because they were members of the Democratic Party,” said Susan Stevens Miller, who represented the Public Service Commission. “An at-will employee can be fired without cause and without a hearing, and the court upheld the commission’s position.”

Mrs. Wilson has been on administrative leave since last year.

The appeals court ordered Mrs. Wilson’s suit dismissed, concluding that she had failed to exhaust the administrative remedies available to her.

Mrs. Wilson was fired as manager of the Office of External Relations of the Public Service Commission in April 2004. Four other employees also were removed at that time. At least three of the five workers were Democrats, which sparked speculation that the firings were politically motivated. Mr. Schisler is a former Republican state delegate who was appointed to the position of chairman by Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. in July 2003.

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