After my last blog post, I see my Lavon readership has increased tenfold. This is a good thing because it means people are finding out how the City is being run. Now they get to see first hand how the City deals with conflict using the bully pulpit through a series of incredulous resolutions designed to shut the employees up, and keep citizens from obtaining information.
Not only are the executive sessions on the agenda as I wrote about in my last blog post, but they also have added resolutions to the agenda designed to put an end to the 5 complaints filed against their City Secretary. When 4 seemingly credible people make complaints, whether formal or informal, they are still complaints and they should be taken serious. Sadly, the only consequence seems to be that of shutting down the complaint process altogether.
Mayor Chuck Teske has requested 3 resolutions dealing with the current complaints to be placed on the agenda. They can be found on the agenda here. Scroll down to page 62, where they have conveniently buried them hoping you wouldn't see them.
Truth is, the City of Lavon can pretty much do whatever they please, as they are not home rule. They can make up rules and regulations as they go along, damn the citizens and damn the employees. So it is fairly intuitively obvious their stance on the 5 complaints made against the City Secretary. It seems they wish to wave the magic wand and create resolutions designed to shut the employees up and hope the complaints just magically disappear.
Resolution on Formal Complaints - uses terminology about 'frivolous complaints 'used to 'harass' City personnel. Oh but yes I guess a complaint made by the former employee about the City Secretary making sexually harassing comments about man bits was frivolous. So too, I guess complaints about a hostile workplace are frivolous as well. In my opinion completely subjective terminology was used in the resolution and sides with the City.
There is also text about 'retaliatory' complaints and whether they are grievous enough to be considered formal or informal or even to be addressed. Well I guess if you were the one being sniped at by the City Secretary it could be considered retaliatory to complain about it. This resolution makes those complaints null and void. Obviously someone down at Lavon City Hall doesn't believe that the complaints made against Chris Wess were grievous enough. Hmmmm......I wonder which almighty administrator in the City of Lavon gets to make the determination on whether a complaint is grievous enough to be dealt with? Ugh! It's all so dizzying, this merry-go-round of complaint hide and seek.
All I read in these resolutions is what I believe to be an a-moral response to complaints made about the City Secretary whether formal or informal; it is pretty clear the City doesn't want to deal with these complaints. A complaint is a complaint and it should be taken seriously, but evidently the City of Lavon doesn't want to do that with any complaints. They want a subjective process in place so they can legally sweep complaints under the carpet. Oh, and that is indeed what they have accomplished thus far where there have been 5 complaints against Chris Wess from July through the end of October and each being addressed in one of three executive sessions and each with relatively no action taken other than blaming all employees and requiring all employees take training. Sounds smart doesn't it? The agendas and minutes don't lie.
Ultimately, the goal here appears to be avoidance of letting the City Council know what is going on so an end can be put to the series of executive sessions. So when a City lacks a City Manager, and the 'acting' City Manager is the next in line for complaints, and he has been established to pose a conflict of interest because of his friendship with the person complained about, then the employees have nowhere to turn because they must rely on him to take the complaint to Council thanks to the next resolution, because they are not allowed to bow and scrape before them. Nice dead end resolution, huh?
Resolution on Chain of Command - notice that the Mayor is in control of each of these scenarios, again causing a dead end option for any employee complaint. As a Council member of a City that does not employee a City Administrator or a City Manager, I would have a problem with the reasoning behind not wanting City Council contacted in any way. I mean, why bother publishing their names and email addresses on the website then if Council is so 'untouchable'? Oh I see, so they sit on their thrones and toss breadcrumbs to the lowly masses, eh? Right then, so it appears the Mayor gets to keep on keeping on with the same modus operandi of sweeping complaints under the carpet. Citizen caveat emptor: don't bother reaching out to your council directly, they will likely put into place a chain of command for you as well if just one more citizen complains. It sure looks like that's what they are attempting to do with the employees so why would this rationale not be a natural extension?
Resolution on Confidentiality - Buried at the bottom is a little ditty about not 'investigating' another employee when a complaint has been made. Better not ask others if they are having the same problems with that employee or else you may be fired. This particular resolution is also designed to make sure that anyone who has a complaint with the City doesn't have to be granted information requests. But I would bet that violates the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Unless litigation has actually been filed, I doubt the City of Lavon can uphold not turning over information to anyone that puts in a FOIA request, whether litigation was threatened or even hinted at. This resolution is the most insidious of them all as it has the potential to stop you, the citizen, from obtaining information. If these people will go through this much trouble to stop the flow of information within the organization and between complainants, what is to stop them from claiming a 'threat' of litigation from a citizen and withholding any and all FOIA requests? Scary.
You know, had they put these resolutions into place years ago I personally wouldn't have a problem with it, but the sheer fact they are doing it now after there have been so many complaints against the same person made by credible individuals should be a flashing red light with screaming sirens. Caution ahead!
These small town folk are absolutely astounding. And I might add, homeowner be ware because if they will treat the employees so poorly, imagine how little they think of the citizens? Especially when one who lives in Lavon and was spending endless hours volunteering for the City, even sewing quilts for the PD and FD to hand out on calls, made a complaint and nothing was done, and especially when another citizen complaint is made by someone who lives in Lavon and works for Grand Heritage? Talk about biting the hands that feed them.
From the resolutions, it is clear these people have spent their time over the last several weeks finding ways to further punish the employees rather than find ways to fix the hostility problem: one hostile employee appears to be causing a laundry list of complaints and vacated positions. In fact, it appears the City administrators are doing exactly that which they are accusing the employees and volunteers of doing with these resolutions. The resolutions appear to be completely retaliatory. I mean, lets call a spade a spade shall we?
Who would want to work for a place that sweeps problems under the carpet rather than admit they made a mistake and attempt to fix it? Who would want to work for a place where the City Council clearly could care less about the employees? Who would want to work for a place that attempts to further tighten the controls on the employees and make it virtually impossible for them to complain? The City of Lavon's disdain for their employees is becoming crystal clear.
So Teske's finger from the Almighty Himself scraped the words out on the tablet of Lavon wisdom and not only do the employees lose, so do the citizens. I'm betting on the resolutions being passed by a complacent City Council who has been pretty reticent to govern thus far. I also predict nothing will come of the executive sessions yet again since precedence has been set in previous executive sessions.
Gee, and I thought the City of Wylie was bad. They look golden by comparison. If you are an employee or citizen of the City of Lavon, heaven help you.