Update, 5:45 p.m.: At about 3:30 p.m., an attorney for Linda Norris announced that an agreement had been reached with the town representatives after nearly five hours of negotiations.
Under the disposition, Norris, the Adult Day Care program supervisor in the town's human services department, will continue working for the town, but in the housing department, she told East Hampton Patch on Friday afternoon.
She was unsure of the exact title, as her attorneys Tom Horn and Lawrence Kelly were finalizing the details with the town, but she said she will still continue her work helping the community. The housing department, she said, was an area she was interested in working in from the start.
Kelly would not get into specifics about the disposition, including salary, noting that the town board has to ratify the agreement. He expected it to go to a vote sometime before Christmas.
"Linda has indicated to me that the resolution of this matter she feels positively about," Kelly told the dozen supporters left of the initial 75 that showed up on Friday for a hearing on her suspension. Many left throughout the day. The hearing never took place.
While the town did not drop the charges, "Everybody gives in negotiations," he said. "I believe we have reached a successful culmination of this process."
Norris was suspended for 30 days without pay on eight counts of misconduct and incompetence. She hired private attorneys to fight the charges and opted to make her hearing public, which is rarely done.
Her attorneys felt having members of the public turnout in support sent a message to the town. "I don't know what else gets that kind of turnout to Town Hall on a Friday morning," Kelly said. "It wouldn't have happened except for the efforts of today," he told her supporters.
Norris said the strong turnout of her former colleagues, volunteers at the Adult Day Care Center, and caregivers of her clients, was both "validating and overwhelming." She said, "I'm glad to have this almost put behind me," adding that she has been anxiety-ridden for two months.
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Previously: About 75 people turned out at Town Hall on Friday for a hearing for a town employee who was suspended from the human services department.
However, three hours after at the hearing was supposed to begin, attorneys for the town and Linda Norris were engaged in discussions behind closed doors.
"You've had a positive impact," Lawrence Kelly, who is representing Norris with Tom Horn, told the crowd that had gathered for the hearing. "The idea Tom had to open the process to the public and bring the people's impression to the public worked well," he said.
Kelly said he expected to know more within the hour.
The town board unanimously approved suspending Norris, the Adult Day Care program supervisor, for 30 days without pay, effective Oct. 10, after eight charges — five for misconduct and three for incompetence — were brought against her by Diane Patrizio, the head of the human services department.
Norris and her attorneys decided to make the hearing public, a rare move, but one that they thought was important in fighting the charges.
Norris' supporters that packed the town hall meeting room included her family, friends, former co-workers, volunteers at Adult Day Care Center, and caregivers of clients. Some were upset the hearing was delayed for so long, saying it was inconsiderate of the town. Many said they had to leave and the crowd dwindled to less than 20 by the early afternoon.
Linda Norris' father, Ted Norris, addressed the crowd and thanked them for sticking around for as long as they had. "Your presence is being felt and it is very positive," he said.
In an interview with East Hampton Patch, he said, "It's heartwarming to show my daughter she is so well thought of. Her loving care is shown."
Ted Norris, a retired carpenter who worked at Madison Square Garden for 33 years and has been in Montauk since 1978, said he hopes his daughter can get a fair hearing and he was confident she would be vindicated. "My daughter is very passionate about the old people," he said.
Norris has worked for the town for 17 years. She lives in Montauk.
Edna Steck, who was the director of the human services department for a quarter-century until she retired in 2010, was among Norris' supporters who worked with Norris. She said she wasn't surprised at all by the large turnout to rally around Norris.
She recalled how Norris was hired to oversee the Montauk location for adult day care at first. "She's highly professional and highly competent," Steck said. "She did not a great job with the caregivers as well as the clients," she said.