To the editor:
Cover-ups are going on at City Hall.
On May 11, 2007, and prior to my retirement with the City of Brownwood, I discovered and reported an accident that occurred on May 7, 2007, by an employee in the department for which I worked. I was instructed by the department head to write a memo describing the violations in regards to the accident and to give the memo to the department supervisor. I disclosed how the employee not only misled about where and how the accident occurred, but also his failure to fill out a mandatory accident report. I also disclosed other violations of city policies.
On May 16, 2007, the department head responded with a memo stating in part, “I can find no fault with the e employee or any of the witnesses” and also” where did the accident really occur?” This memo was nothing more than a cover-up because I had already proved the accident did not happen the way the employee said it did, and if given the opportunity could prove where it happened.
During the period of the department heads so called attempt to find out what really happened, I witnessed and observed him violating eight of the City’s personnel rules and regulations. Therefore, I followed procedure and filed a grievance on the department head with his immediate supervisor on May 22, 2007; this was to be followed by a decision in writing to all parties involved within five working days. To date I have not received a response. I did however obtain a memo (through another source) from the immediate supervisor to his supervisor stating he had reviewed said document (nothing about an investigation) and stated in part “and find this grievance to be a moot point”. This is a ludicrous statement which he took right out of the personnel policy in hopes he could make the grievance go away. The dictionary defines moot point: to bring up for discussion or debate. He further stated that the grievance process ceases if the employee resigns. I did not resign; I retired. There is a significant difference between the two words. Again, here was another attempt to make the situation go away. So what caliber of upper management would send out a misleading memo like this, other than to create a false pretense and a diversion tactic, so that the situation could be covered up?
After numerous phone calls and messages to the immediate supervisor, and with no response, I sent him a letter dated June 8, 2007, requesting a response. To date, he has not responded. However, I did receive a letter from the ex-interim city manager dated June 13, 2007. The letter stated in part that city staff had reviewed the documentation and investigated the situation in regards to the grievance, the actions taken were considered personal and had been or would be reviewed with each individual involved, and the investigation was concluded. Not satisfied with another cover-up, I responded to his letter requesting proof of all interviews, actions and investigations by city staff and their names. To date, I again have had no response from the ex-city manager or any city management personnel. This is because they cannot produce the proof of what I requested. How about that from the people that manage the city.
I wrote and hand delivered a letter to the new city manager on Sept. 18, 2007, in hopes that he would curtail this type of poor managerial behavior. I gave a copy of my letter to the city attorney. I requested that the grievance be reopened, and handled in a manner that showed professionalism, courtesy, respect and in the required manner that was to have been followed according to the City of Brownwood policies when I first filed the grievance. To date, I have not received a response of any kind.
Furthermore, all of the city council members were provided certain information regarding this grievance and none of them have shown any concern or responded in any fashion.
So why have policies and procedures when even top management including the city manager won’t comply with them? Better yet, why would they not want to comply? The citizens of Brownwood are paying these individuals very well, and your elected city council members are the ones who approve their positions. If the leadership of Brownwood will go the effort of covering up a problem and not follow city rules and regulations, (to save face for one of their own — the ‘good ole boys club’) you can only imagine what they would possibly do regarding something that would be more significant or possibly effect the city overall.
Retired employee Brent W. Forsman