Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane fired another aide Wednesday, terminating a senior official only weeks after he recommended that she discharge her new and controversial chief of staff.
The dismissed aide, George Moore, the office's labor-relations coordinator, said in an interview that a superior told him only that Kane wanted to "go in a new direction."
However, Moore said he saw his firing as retaliation for his recommendation that Kane fire chief of staff Jonathan Duecker.
Moore made that suggestion in April after learning that two women in the office had reported that Duecker had sexually harassed them. Although Kane had been notified of the allegations by her internal affairs unit, she promoted him several days later.
"I would make the same recommendation over again," Moore said Wednesday. He added: "I know I wasn't fired for job performance."
Michael Engle, Moore's newly hired lawyer, said Wednesday that he was considering filing a lawsuit asserting that Moore had been wrongfully terminated.
Moore, 39, was paid about $66,000 annually and had worked for the state for 16 years. A former colleague said Wednesday, "George did the right thing and is paying the price."
Chuck Ardo, Kane's spokesman, declined to comment. "It's a personnel issue," he said.
As The Inquirer reported Sunday, staffers in the Attorney General's Office said their workplace has become increasingly anxiety-ridden, rocked by firings, resignations, and uncertainty about whether Kane will face criminal charges.
Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman is considering whether to arrest the attorney general on charges of illegally leaking grand jury material to a newspaper to plant a negative story about a critic.
In April, Kane fired James Barker, the veteran chief of the office's appeal unit. Initially, her spokeswoman said Kane fired Barker as part of an overall office restructuring. Later, her office said he had been dismissed for failing to crack down on leaks.
A month before Barker's dismissal, The Inquirer reported he had testified against Kane before a grand jury investigating her for the leak.
A judicial protective order barred any retaliations against witnesses. In response to a judge's order, Ferman is also investigating whether the firing violated the order.