Sioux City trial: Legal counsel advised U.S. attorney on Fagg's discipline, firing

2013-12-11T18:30:00Z 2014-07-17T21:44:15Z Sioux City trial: Legal counsel advised U.S. attorney on Fagg's discipline, firingNICK HYTREK Sioux City Journal
December 11, 2013 6:30 pm  • 

SIOUX CITY | Every disciplinary step the U.S. Attorney's Office took against Martha Fagg was done with the approval of Department of Justice legal counsel, Fagg's former supervisor testified Wednesday.

Teresa Baumann, who was first assistant U.S. attorney, civil division chief and Fagg's direct supervisor, said she and then-U.S. Attorney Stephanie Rose contacted the General Counsel's Office in Washington, D.C., early in 2010 for advice in dealing with Fagg's performance and conduct issues.

Baumann said they sought the General Counsel's advice because they wanted to make sure they were not violating any regulations when dealing with Fagg's situation.

"I wanted nothing more than to have a fully functioning, happy civil division, and Ms. Fagg was a part of that," Baumann said.

Fagg, who had been diagnosed with depression and anxiety disorders, has alleged in U.S. District Court in Sioux City that Rose discriminated against her because of her mental and physical conditions. She also claims Rose, 40, discriminated against older employees.

Kimya Jones, assistant general counsel at the General Counsel's Office, testified Baumann and Rose, who is now a federal judge, consulted with her regularly about Fagg.

Jones said she reviewed documentation they provided to her and provided guidance for disciplinary actions that began with a reprimand and progressed to a temporary, then permanent, transfer from the Sioux City office to Cedar Rapids, two suspensions without pay and, finally, termination.

"The actions were reasonable and appropriate," Jones said.

Baumann, who was 35 when Rose named her the top assistant in the office, testified that Fagg continually made disrespectful comments toward Baumann about her level of experience and failed to follow orders about filing administrative paperwork and submitting her work to Baumann for review.

At the conclusion of Wednesday's testimony, the defense rested its case.

After six days of testimony, lawyers will make their final arguments Thursday morning and the case then will be submitted to the jury, which will decide Fagg's disability discrimination claim. Senior Judge Richard Kopf will rule on Fagg's age discrimination claim.

Copyright 2015 Sioux City Journal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.