Appeals court rules for extension service


The Maryland Cooperative Extension Service had the right three years ago to transfer an agent from Carroll County to Baltimore County against her will, the state's second highest court ruled recently.

Saying transfer of employees is at the discretion of the extension service, the Court of Special Appeals' opinion means Sharon B. Grobaker will remain at the service's Cockeysville office where she was moved in July 1992.

"This is it; it's over," Ms. Grobaker said yesterday. "It's been a long fight. It has been an incredible experience that I would not wish on anyone."

Ms. Grobaker's transfer from the home economics program was ordered after her Carroll job was eliminated as part of a $3.6 million budget cut.

Ms. Grobaker, who lives in Lineboro and had held the post for 16 years, sued the agency and said the transfer violated her contract.

The intermediate appellate court said Carroll Circuit Judge Luke K. Burns Jr. was wrong when he agreed with Ms. Grobaker last year and ordered the extension service to transfer her back to Carroll County.

Ms. Grobaker has continued to work in Baltimore County since her transfer and will continue to do so, said Assistant Attorney General Susan Somerville-Hawes. "The case is over, and we will proceed with business as usual," Ms. Somerville-Hawes said.

Ms. Grobaker's transfer from Carroll was to an identical job -- with identical pay -- in the Cockeysville office, an hour's drive from Ms. Grobaker's home.

"This has never been about Baltimore County, it's a good place to work," Ms. Grobaker said. "I'm extremely disappointed. I miss Carroll County a lot. It's where I worked for 16 years."

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