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Maryland Legal Aid names replacement for Anne Arundel office chief fired without explanation amid coronavirus pandemic

Maryland Legal Aid has named a new chief attorney in their Anne Arundel County office to replace the office’s former top lawyer who was fired, along with her deputy and two other attorneys, without explanation last summer.

Joycelyn “Joy” Stinson will take over the new role, the organization announced in a Friday news release.

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Stinson was previously a supervising attorney for Maryland Center for Legal Assistance, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Maryland Legal Aid, according to the release. She has more than a decade of legal experience in family, consumer, and criminal law, and as a volunteer and panel attorney with the Maryland Office of the Public Defender.

Danielle Chappell, named as the acting Anne Arundel chief in July, will serve as supervising attorney.

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“MLA is fortunate to have Joy as the new chief attorney of MLA’s Anne Arundel County office. She brings to the position a varied professional background as well as a strong commitment to serving low-income clients and communities,” said Chief Counsel Stu Simms in a statement. “With Joy and Danielle at the helm, along with the existing team in the office, the low-income and underserved residents of Anne Arundel County can be assured that they will receive the highest level of legal services.”

Stinson’s predecessor, Anita Bailey, and her deputy Lisa Sarro were among four top attorneys in the organization who were fired in July after they spoke out against the organization’s plans to reopen to the public amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The organization named an acting replacement for fired Montgomery office chief, John Marshall. A replacement has not been named for Blake Fetrow, the former chief of the Metro office, representing Prince George’s and Howard counties.

This week, Wilhelm Joseph, the longtime director of Maryland Legal Aid whose leadership has been the target of recent criticism by current and former employees following the firings, is reportedly retiring. Warren Oliveri, president of the board of directors, told employees at a meeting Tuesday that Joseph will leave the agency at a date yet to be set. Another member of Joseph’s executive team, Deputy Chief Counsel Gina Polley, also announced she’s retiring on Dec. 31 during the same meeting.

The leadership changes were announced a day after the union representing Maryland Legal Aid revealed two votes of no confidence, one each for Joseph’s executive team and Oliveri and the Board of Directors.

Union representatives have also filed complaints to the National Labor Relations Board and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against Maryland Legal Aid. They say they are seeking reinstatement for Bailey, Fetrow and Marshall.

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