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The Daily Tar Heel

Late Ruling May Alter Sanders Case

UNC employee Bobbie Sanders accused the University of discriminating against her based on age and sex in June 2000. Sanders is a computing consultant in research services who was not promoted to the vacant position of computer consultant IV.

The promotion instead was given to a younger man, Andy Johns, who is now assistant director of operations for the Office of Technology Development.

Mark Crowell, director of the Office of Technology Development, hired Johns based on his interview, application, references and qualifications, according to the Chatham County judge's ruling -- the case's most recent ruling -- filed Oct. 1.

The case first went to court in June 2001, a year after the claim was made. An administrative law judge, Sammie Chess, made a recommended ruling in favor of Sanders.

Chess recommended that Sanders be placed in the position and receive back pay for time since she did not receive the position.

This initial decision was overturned by the State Personnel Commission, which claimed both that Chess had made many errors and denied that the University had discriminated against Sanders because of her age and sex.

Sanders' lawyer, Al McSurely, appealed this decision in April, arguing that the commission also made errors and did not adequately justify its decision.

Sanders argued in her lawsuit that the commission did not "state with the required specificity the reasons why it did not adopt the administrative law judge's recommended decision."

She also stated that the commission's decision was "arbitrary and capricious, and contained findings of facts and conclusions of law, which were unsupported by substantial evidence."

Therefore, the court reviewed the case again. But even after this review, Judge Wade Barber of the Chatham County Superior Court ruled Oct. 1 that the University was innocent of age and sex discrimination against Sanders.

It is this ruling that McSurely said was not made within the required 90 days.

McSurely said there is a law stating that if the commission does not make an order within 90 days, the recommended ruling -- made by Chess -- stands. In this case, the recommended ruling was in Sanders' favor.

On Oct. 24, McSurely submitted a motion for relief of the order submitted earlier by Barber.

McSurely said that he expects to hear back from the court within a month about this motion but that filing an appeal takes eight months to one year.

The University Editor can be reached at

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