Deliberate misbehavior by Anne Arundel County employees could leave them on the hook for the county's legal costs under a new bill introduced Monday night.
The legislation requires the county attorney to try to recoup from employees whose conduct ultimately put Anne Arundel's government on the losing end of a lawsuit. A second bill introduced Monday night gives the County Council final approval on any out-of-court settlements over $100,000.
The bills are reactions to two pending federal lawsuits against the county filed over the conduct of County Executive John R. Leopold, the bills' sponsors said. In both cases, former employees accuse Leopold of gender discrimination. Together, the lawsuits seek more than $1 million in damages from the county. Leopold has denied wrongdoing in both cases.
The bills introduced Monday differ from drafts circulated to the media last week. At the time, Councilman Jamie Benoit said residents "should never shoulder the financial burden of any employee's bad acts." The legislation introduced by Benoit, a Democrat from Crownsville, and Councilman Jerry Walker, a Republican from Gambrills, now limits that financial burden to settlements up to $25,000 in some cases and up to $100,000 in others. If passed, the bill requires the county to seek reimbursement for all payouts over $100,000.
A public hearing on both bills is scheduled for Sept. 18.