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Social Workers Suspended Without Pay

Reassignment part of disciplinary measures taken by city.

Two social workers involved in the Katelynn Frazier case will receive a 15-day suspension without pay and will be reassigned to jobs that do not involve the supervision of children.

City Manager Philip G. Sunderland made the decision early this week. He accepted the recommendation of Henry Howard, the city’s personnel director. The social worker, Marilyn Mills, and her direct supervisor, Janice Pritchett, spent more than four months on administrative leave with pay while the city conducted an internal investigation into their conduct. That investigation, which was made public in January, found that their conduct showed poor judgment and had a negative impact on the delivery of professional services to the Frazier family.

Katelynn died on Dec. 29, 2000, after spending three months in the care of her biological mother, Pennee Frazier. Prior to that, Katelynn had spent more than two years in foster care. Social workers who were supervising the Frazier home, failed to detect that Katelynn was being beaten on a weekly basis from the time she was returned to the home on Sept. 15, and her death.

Howard recommended the disciplinary action in January but both Mills and Pritchett appealed the action.