Arbitrator upholds firing of absent emergency manager

Sonia Morphew Pitt
Sonia Morphew Pitt was recently fired from her position as director of homeland security planning at MnDOT. She is appealing her dismissal.
Photo courtesy of MnDOT

MnDOT fired Pitt in November 2007, after an internal investigation found that she committed serious misconduct.

Pitt, who was MnDOT's emergency manager, did not immediately return to Minnesota from the East Coast after the I-35W bridge collapse. An internal investigation also found that she allegedly used taxpayer money for personal benefit.

Pitt appealed her dismissal. An arbitrator ruled that Pitt misused her state cell phone and knowingly violated MnDOT's travel policy. She added that Pitt abused the freedom accorded to her in her capacity as manager.

The commissioner of the Department of Employee Relations issued a statement saying the arbitrator's decision affirms that serious misconduct cannot be tolerated.

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