• December 27, 2014

Morrison rejects board recommendation

Employee grievance panel suggests city rehire former finance director

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Posted: Friday, May 3, 2013 4:30 am | Updated: 7:52 pm, Fri May 3, 2013.

Killeen City Manager Glenn Morrison on Thursday rejected a recommendation by the city employee grievance board to reinstate fired finance director Barbara Gonzales.

Gonzales was terminated Dec. 12 after a two-month internal investigation of the city’s Fleet Services Department revealed widespread theft at the city motor pool, which was under her purview at the time.

A city employee of 14 years, Gonzales was not accused of theft. However, during last week’s hearing, the former department head admitted to lying to investigators and interfering with the police investigation.

In a statement Thursday,

Morrison thanked the grievance board, but said he fired Gonzales based on observations during her time as finance director, “culminating in her actions related to the Fleet Services investigation.”

Morrison said Gonzales admitted to interfering with the police investigation, lying to police and violating a directive from City Hall not to contact other city employees while on administrative leave.

“There was no evidence presented during the hearing refuting any of these facts; therefore, I stand behind my original decision, and I am upholding her termination,” Morrison said.

Since the April 24 hearing, political leaders on both sides of the case have criticized the city’s employee hearing process, which was tested with the unique circumstances of Gonzales’ case.

Gonzales is the first city department head to be fired, and Morrison — who has the final decision in the case — testified against her during the hearing.

The panel’s findings, which were released by the city Thursday, were welcomed by Gonzales’ attorney, Bill Aleshire of Austin.

“Even with a grievance system that is stacked against the employee, Barbara Gonzales was today partially vindicated by the board’s unanimous decision that she should be rehired,” Aleshire said.

“This should be a wake-up call to city officials, that the injustice done to Barbara Gonzales can still be seen through all of the city’s chatter and cover-up excuses,” Aleshire said.

Gonzales also sued the city under the Texas Whistleblower Act. Her trial is expected to start early next year.

Both Killeen Mayor Dan Corbin and Mayor Pro Tem Michael Lower said Thursday that the board’s ruling in favor of Gonzales would not affect their stance against negotiating a settlement with the former finance director.

Councilman Jonathan Okray said he did not have enough information to comment on the lawsuit, but he said the opinion of the employee grievance panel should not be ignored.

“The decision of the review board, if it serves a purpose, should have some weight,” Okray said. “If not, what is the point of having it?”

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15 comments:

  • Alvin posted at 12:19 pm on Sat, May 4, 2013.

    Alvin Posts: 253

    I have read Morrison's statement. Things just do not add up. First he is quoted as saying he 'did not' verbally or by written statement warn her of previous acts until this accused infraction. Now he says that 'her termination was based on 'his supervision of her culminating in her actions as director of Fleet Services. Based on the infraction, I am of the opinion that Morrison is wrong and should have been monitoring her, and all other people who were under his supervision, all along and if she was guilty of sub-standard work practices, it should have been noted in writing. I agree with the civilian board, her work ethics were not cause for termination and the city should find the civilian board is to reinstate her. Morrison, in my opinion, should be reprimanded.

     
  • Eliza posted at 6:26 pm on Fri, May 3, 2013.

    Eliza Posts: 901

    @ Max 67

    The article you have pointed out titled;

    2009 termination of Killeen employee raises questions
    http://m.kdhnews.com/news/politics/termination-of-killeen-employee-raises-questions/article_cdd07ee6-ddfd-5791-8bab-983913869e87.html

    brings forward another one of the reasons, money has had to be paid out of the citizens tax money for purposes totally unrelated to any tax payer.
    The fight club which was also going on at the same time was totally disgusting.

    How much more do the tax payers have to pay out before they say ,its enough No More !

    In less then 5 years the city has felt the need, to pay out large sums of money to settle law suits or to satisfy a city manager's demanded pay out, all of this involved city connected employees or city government .
    The money has been the same as wasted, since it wasn't spent for the reason it was collected and suppose to be used for, the people.

    I would think its time for the people to possibly decide enough is enough.
    Otherwise, we would look like the fools we are being taken for by the ones running the city and wasting the tax payers money .


     
  • Eliza posted at 10:57 am on Fri, May 3, 2013.

    Eliza Posts: 901

    @ Someone needs to ask the internal auditor how assets of the city are currently being tracked.
    Someone also needs to ask an unrealated third party if that way is ideal.------


    From the time the $750,000 was given to Ex City Manager Green by some members of the former city council, an outside agency should have been brought in, ideally it would be county and was suggested so by AG's office, however with too many connections between city and county, state should have been requested. Especially since the $750,000 was decided on during a closed door session without the tax payers knowledge until it was done. Nothing of this sort is to be done Without the tax payers being made aware first. The public always needs to know when any money changes hands when that money belongs to the people.
    @ You state your pay was cut, but your job description and duties didn't, that is strange due to the fact another city employee was given a $ 10,000 dollar a year raise, an unheard of amount for a city employee due to the job the employee holds. This sounds like another bias being shown among the city employees.
    Now with the allegations made by Gonzales pertaining to the thousands of dollars paid out for 'a party' which included alcoholic beverages,(the breaking of City Charter Rules) ,this situation shows a strong indentation that an outside agency does need to be requested to take a look see and check what is the tax payers money being spent on, and is all of it legal spending.
    Especially since different agencies of the city have been named in a court document along with, the names of different city employees or dept. heads in a whistle blowers law suit.

     
  • Max67 posted at 10:14 am on Fri, May 3, 2013.

    Max67 Posts: 63

    I'm so glad people are willing to provide input concerning the facts (@bsupak) and that people recognize the value of this information (@Viktor).

    Since most (if not all) of the information released by the city has been inaccurate and/or misleading - intended to serve their own purpose (to cover up things they have done), it's important that this information be provided to give the public a better understanding of the facts.

    I'm also glad the panel didn't blindly support the city mgr, but asked key questions and considered the facts. It's a shame their recommendation can be rejected by the individual whose actions they're judging, but maybe that process can be changed in the future.

    Here is an insightful article that might shed some light on the city mgr and on events that have occurred in the past, especially w/ respect to the review panel process:

    http://m.kdhnews.com/news/politics/termination-of-killeen-employee-raises-questions/article_cdd07ee6-ddfd-5791-8bab-983913869e87.html

     
  • michwar64 posted at 9:56 am on Fri, May 3, 2013.

    michwar64 Posts: 3

    Mr. Morrison is a shark and only trying to push blame on others, to cover up his own indescretions. Everyone admits mistakes, however, when you are spending funds, allocated to the city, to cover up wrong doing, he needs to go. He was once a well respected Killeenite, however, he is casting doubt and evil amongst the city. He needs to go and quickly, before Killeen finds themselves broke and without employees.

     
  • Viktor posted at 7:23 am on Fri, May 3, 2013.

    Viktor Posts: 317

    @BSupak: Very informative post. Killeen's city government has a history of using funds unwisely. Consider all the road costs they share with developers in areas when new housing is going up on what used to be rural farmland. Supposedly it's less expensive to share those costs up when in fact it should be footed by those wanting to build the subdivision. @el residente: Thanks for the morning laughs. Junior high school. Lol!

     
  • BrianSupak posted at 6:39 am on Fri, May 3, 2013.

    BrianSupak Posts: 9

    Yes and I was greatly worried that the city was going to fire me if I didn't hand over the voicemails of when Barbara called me after she had been put on admin leave. We were all wondering what was going on, to my knowledge she didn't receive a clear explaination. Her calls were carrying in nature and I wouldn't call them interference at all. Barbara was one of the few people who knew how I was being treated at work. I was very concerned that I was next to get fired, since I was also responsible for management of city assets. These are the same assets we explained to the city manager that couldn't be tracked properly because we didn't have the correct means, or staff, or backing from management to implement an ideal asset tracking method. We clearly explained this in our budget requests that were denied. Proof would be in our budget request binders unless they have been destroyed. Just before the city fired Barbara the city manager cut my pay grade with no explanation other than they will be shifting some duties around. I have the proof that very few things were taken off my plate and I felt greatly demoralize as an employee for killeen and as a result of what they did to my paygrade grade so I left. I was also tired of being worried about things I could do nothing about because I didn't have the proper tools or support of top city management. Someone needs to ask the internal auditor how assets of the city are currently being tracked. Someone also needs to ask an unrealated third party if that way is ideal.

     
  • el residente posted at 9:08 pm on Thu, May 2, 2013.

    el residente Posts: 12

    To @whoknows - Really? You think you're going to puke? Informative and classy. I didn't know junior high girls cared that much about city gov't.

    And you say they didn't even "discuss the reasons she was fired." Could that be because Glenn couldn't provide any reasons until the day of the hearing... approximately four months after she was fired. And then those reasons were lacking any substance and documentation.

    Outside of the City of Killeen, that's really not standard practice. Hope you're feeling better ;-)

     
  • IKnow posted at 8:46 pm on Thu, May 2, 2013.

    IKnow Posts: 1

    When making his decision about the board's recommendation, Glenn might've been a little fuzzy on his hearing facts. As noted by several people attending the hearing, he appeared to be a little fixated on Ms. Gonzales' attorney.

     
  • Viktor posted at 6:59 pm on Thu, May 2, 2013.

    Viktor Posts: 317

    City manager upheld his original decision to terminate Gonzales? Big surprise. @Max67 & whoknew: bullseye! That letter to the editor on 4/28 about this very same topic hit the mark too.

     
  • whoknew posted at 6:31 pm on Thu, May 2, 2013.

    whoknew Posts: 3

    @whoknows - Sounds like your in bed with the City Manager and all his cronies!

     
  • Max67 posted at 6:02 pm on Thu, May 2, 2013.

    Max67 Posts: 63

    We have the city manager to thank for wasting the most taxpayer funds: paying off the prior city manager to keep him quiet ($750,000), paying off his former girlfriend to keep her quiet ($30,000+), spending $17,000+ on dinners with a lot of alcohol, giving an illegal and COMPLETELY UNWARRANTED $10,000 raise to an employee who probably didn't earn her previous salary.

    Lt. Donahue admitted Mrs. Gonzales did not interfere in the investigation and Amanda Wallace admitted there was No proof to the thefts. I guess the money for the pretend investigation/audit was ANOTHER example of money well spent by Glenn, who seems to be incapable of doing anything right. He spent that $ in hopes of tying Ms. Gonzales to the kind of activity that is probably only commonplace for him.

     
  • Max67 posted at 6:01 pm on Thu, May 2, 2013.

    Max67 Posts: 63

    When you get to select the people who get to decide if you did the right thing, with them knowing you get the final say about your own behavior - and they still rule against you, noticing your incompetence, really? What kind of bigger "loser flag" is there?

    He's obviously the one who should be fired. I guess you could say: "Pay-offs: $780,000, Chance to Get Liquored-Up on the Taxpayers' Tab: $17,000, Getting to See How Dumb Your City Manager Really Is: Priceless! (If only it were worth all the $ he's costs is.)


     
  • whoknows posted at 4:49 pm on Thu, May 2, 2013.

    whoknows Posts: 2

    I would just like to know what the board was thinking (assuming they were thinking) to make a decision to reinstate an employee who has beligerently done the things she did as a department head!! They didn't even discuss the reasons she was fired!!! If any one of them had EVER been in a leadership position or a key managment position they would know that there was no fixing Ms Gonzales. And reinstating her............that would accomplish exactly what???? We all know what it's all about. Its about how much money Ms Gonzales and her ambulance chasing attorneys can milk from the city.

    Oh and by the way, it will be your tax money that pays her..........oh but that is probably OK but lets not approve road projects and build Conference Centers and such.

    What a bunch of bleeding heart, liberal, uninformed, etc...

    I think I'm going to puke!

     
  • whoknows posted at 4:36 pm on Thu, May 2, 2013.

    whoknows Posts: 2

    Finally, a City Manager with some guts!!