The city of Gaithersburg’s human resources manager, Margaret Daily, was fired Feb. 2 after refusing to retire from her post at the urging of new City Manager Tony Tomasello.
Daily, 60, had worked for the city for more than 27 years.
She told The Gazette on Friday that she was fired via email on Jan. 30 following a discussion with Tomasello during which he asked her to retire on Jan. 29.
Tomasello told her that it was “in the city’s best interest to separate me from service,” Daily said. The email stated her last day would be Feb. 2.
Tomasello declined to comment on the situation, explaining that it was a “personnel matter.”
In November, city staff identified three finalists for the then-open position of city manager. Tomasello, then acting city manager, was a finalist, along with Annapolis City Manager Michael Malinoff and Kerrville, Texas, City Manager Todd Parton.
Daily, a Gaithersburg resident, coordinated the search and said she did not support Tomasello as the top candidate, but declined to explain why. After Tomasello was sworn in, she said he “tried what he could to get me gone.”
“In his mind, there is a reason he wanted me gone,” Daily said. “Maybe not just because I didn’t support him; if it wasn’t my work performance, he did not tell me.”
Daily said there were no disciplinary actions in her personnel folder for her nearly three decades on the job.
Daily said there was a general lack of communication between Tomasello and herself. When Tomasello asked if she had thought about retiring. Daily responded, “If you want me gone, you will have to man up and fire me.”
She refused to sign a confidentiality agreement, saying that others who had done so felt they “sold their soul.”
“I wanted people to know that he wanted me gone because I didn’t support him and I believe that was the reason 100 percent,” she explained. “I don’t think I was treated with the respect I deserve.”
Daily said she will miss her staff the most, but she doesn’t regret refusing the option to retire. Gaithersburg Mayor Sidney Katz said he had worked with Daily for many years, but declined to comment further.
“We certainly valued her service while she was here,” he said.
City Attorney Lynn Board did not return calls for comment by press time.