Laveida Jones was a firefighter with the city of Pocahontas from 1999-2006. She was fired by then Fire Chief Scott Baltz. A lawsuit was filed in 2007 and later settled in 2009 for $131,500.
Laveida Jones began working for the city of Pocahontas in April of 1999 and was later hired as a full time firefighter on May 3, 2001. “At the time she was hired, Plaintiff was paid less than male employees who were performing the same or substantially the same work but were paid more money than she was” according to case documents listing the city of Pocahontas, Mayor Gary Crocker, and Scott Baltz “in his individual capacity and as Fire Chief of the City of Pocahontas”.
Jones was hired by then Mayor of Pocahontas John Patrick; at that time Scott Baltz was serving as the assistant Fire Chief under then Chief John Dalton. According to the complaint, the decision to hire Jones was not without controversy. Described in the complaint Scott Baltz supposedly said the fire department is “no place for a woman”.
The document goes on to explain Scott Baltz “retired” and left the department before Jones began working but the election of new mayor and named defendant Gary Crocker also brought a new Fire Chief, Scott Baltz. On September 28, 2006 Scott Baltz fired Laveida Jones.
As a result a lawsuit was filed which was settled in 2009 outside of court for $131,500 and also resulted in a Protective Order which is designed to protect both parties from harassment or direct interference in future affairs.
Those of you familiar with legal affairs may be wondering how the settled amount of $131,500 is public knowledge. After all, it was settled out of court so how could that be in the public domain? Laveida Jones filed a second lawsuit in 2010 against Randolf County and Sheriff Gary Tribble.
A part of the suit reveals a lengthy deposition where Laveida Jones discusses what she believes to be the discriminatory practices of the Randolf County Sheriff’s department. In the process she discloses the amount of the previous settlement.
This suit was also settled outside of court for an amount unknown at this time or at least until there is another lawsuit where the deposition reveals the settlement.
For much of time Jones was employed as a firefighter she also maintained her status as a police reserve officer until Scott Baltz became Fire Chief which is when the monthly hour requirement to maintain reserve status increased from 8 to 20 hours. Much of what is being lost in all of this is Laveida’s daughter Michelle, who was born with a disability. Michelle was born with cerebral palsy and cannot speak which was clearly an issue at her workplace according to case documents which cite “association with disabled family members” as yet another way she was discriminated against by Scott Baltz in the first suit.
So what was the issue in the second suit? What was the beef with the Randolf County Sheriff’s Department?
From the 2010 case files Laveida Jones:
“repeatedly sought and applied for reserve positions as well as paid positions. She met with and applied for the position of reserve deputy at the same time that Defendants were holding a reserve training class.”
Interesting how Scott Baltz is mentioned in the second lawsuit but not as a defendant. At this time Scott Baltz was a Randolf County Quorum Court member and he is cited again on page 61 of Laveida Jones’ deposition when she was asked “What does Scott Baltz know about this case to your knowledge?”
Why would Scott Baltz go to such an extreme to keep Jones from getting a vacant Constable position that she had been recommended for by the previous constable and a sitting State Representative? Not only was Scott Baltz in violation of the protective order which specifically mentioned him by name, it also appears he is willing to go to great lengths to keep a working mother who is trying to care for a disabled child from serving in an UNPAID position.
As I mentioned earlier this case was also settled outside of court. Sources that I trust tell me this case was probably settled for a greater amount than the previous $131,500. I don’t know for sure but I hear Laveida Jones lives in a nice hou$e on a lake.