Former Oakland City Administrator Loses Appeal Over Firing

Deborah Edgerly

Nearly a year after former City Administrator Deborah Edgerly lost a lawsuit against the City of Oakland over her firing, the state Court of Appeals has rejected her attempt to pursue a claim based on the state’s whistle-blower law. Edgerly sued the city in 2009 after she was fired in July 2008 by former Mayor Ron Dellums. In her claim she said she lost her job because she was a woman and because she refused to approve city reimbursement for three questionable expenses sought by Dellums. Edgerly’s firing came after she was accused of interfering with a police investigation of her nephew, who police suspected was a member of the West Oakland Acorn gang. During the trial, Dellums testified that he did not fire Edgerly because of the police investigation but because she stopped communicating with him after she withdrew from a previous agreement to retire. In her appeal, Edgerly claimed she should be protected under the state’s whistle-blower law because, by rejecting Dellums’ expenses, she was refusing to allow him to violate the city charter. But in its ruling published Wednesday, the state court ruled that her actions were not covered by the whistleblower law because Dellums was not attempting to violate a state law or rule. Instead, the court ruled her claim that she refused to have the city reimburse Dellums was simply part of her routine work and not a protected action under the state law.
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