Jeannette Vagnozzi, who served as city manager of Upland for less than seven months in 2018-2019, has filed a lawsuit against the city claiming wrongful termination, discrimination, and harassment, the Daily Bulletin reports.
Vagnozzi had served as assistant city manager for four years when she was hired to replace Rod Butler on Nov. 26, 2018. She was terminated without cause on June 13, 2019, according to the suit.
Vagnozzi’s attorney said the city failed to accommodate a medical condition she suffers from. The lawsuit also alleges that the city’s police chief made comments about her condition as well as her sex and weight. She was terminated while out on medical leave, according to the suit.
Vagnozzi further alleges that Council Member Janice Elliott retaliated against her when she fired Elliott from a volunteer position with the Upland Animal Shelter — a claim Elliott denies. Another council member said Vagnozzi should not get a raise because she was a single woman, the lawsuit claims.
Upland’s government has been enmeshed in turmoil for years. The city had a falling out with its last manager Rosemary Hoerning and paid her $235,903 plus sick leave and vacation after she resigned. Hoerning was accused of harassment by Police Chief Darren Goodman after she placed him on leave with the blessing of then mayor Debbie Stone. Outrage ensued and Chief Goodman was almost immediately reinstated. His chief executive assistant then accused him of discrimination and the city ended up paying $545,000 to settle the complaint. Additionally, a Grand Jury report from August 2020 found that city officials had altered reports and interfered with the duties of the city’s treasurer, Larry Kinley. A month later, Kinley resigned.