Jefferson County lost its authority to hire and fire employees on Tuesday. A federal judge declared that the county failed to abide by terms of a consent decree stemming from a discrimination case. U.S. District Judge Lynwood Smith ordered all personnel decisions made by a receiver, to be named later. County Manager Tony Petelos pledged that the county will work with the court to end the nearly 40 year old legal fight over the county's hiring practices. Plaintiffs first sued in 1974, claiming the county discriminated against blacks and women, in hiring and promotions.