Bexar County employee promoted on same day co-worker she testified against was handed proposed termination

Bexar County employee promoted on same day co-worker she testified against was handed proposed termination

SAN ANTONIO – A Bexar County worker was promoted to a senior analyst place this summer time, the identical day officers handed a proposed termination to a co-worker she had not too long ago testified in opposition to in a disciplinary case.

The paperwork unearthed by the KSAT 12 Defenders have been amongst a batch of information that elevate questions on personnel selections amongst county management.

Since final fall, 4 employment complaints have been filed in opposition to Assistant County Supervisor Tina Smith-Dean. Lots of the allegations and complaints swirl round doable bullying and retaliation.

MORE: 3 Bexar County workers positioned on go away or faraway from departments after submitting complaints in opposition to supervisors

Now, new info obtained below open information regulation and from county sources reveals that two workers who labored below Smith-Dean have been dealt very completely different fates on the very same day this summer time, after they have been concerned in a disciplinary case.

A type of workers, Syvia Diaz, was promoted to a senior analyst place June 9. Diaz was moved up two pay grades and positioned in command of implementing and monitoring a state-mandated cybersecurity coaching program for the county, information present.

Her promotion got here two months after she testified in opposition to the second worker in a disciplinary investigation. That worker, who requested to not be recognized as a result of she has a pending federal criticism in opposition to the county that names Smith-Dean, was handed a proposed termination by county officers on June 9 – the identical day as Diaz’s promotion, information present.

RELATED: Bexar County hires ombudsperson following string of complaints from workers

Diaz was a key witness within the months-long investigation into the actions of the second worker, who was accused of intimidating co-workers by taking photographs of them as they walked off of an elevator contained in the Paul Elizondo Tower in late February.

The worker has mentioned she was not photographing workers, however was as a substitute finishing up her assigned activity of creating positive a show close to the elevator seemed orderly.

Information present a veteran Bexar County worker was given a proposed termination the identical day a co-worker who testified in opposition to her was given a promotion. (KSAT)

In February, Diaz despatched an e-mail calling the girl’s actions “very annoying and aggravating” and that she was not going to tolerate the co-worker’s habits anymore, information present. A number of fellow workers despatched comparable messages inside an hour of Diaz’s e-mail or by the next day.

Months later, throughout a video convention assembly with Human Sources concerning the incident, Diaz acknowledged sending Smith-Dean an e-mail concerning the elevator episode and that Smith-Dean then got here to her workplace to debate it.

County officers, nonetheless, have acknowledged Smith-Dean performed no function within the investigation of the worker, who late final 12 months had accused Smith-Dean of harassment and bullying.

On account of Smith-Dean’s high-ranking place, in accordance with a number of sources, the choice was made to usher in an outdoor agency, Kelmar World Investigations, to deal with the investigation of her starting late final 12 months.

County Supervisor David Smith earlier this 12 months knowledgeable the girl’s legal professional that Kelmar had concluded its report and primarily based on a authorized overview of it by the district legal professional’s workplace, the allegations in opposition to Smith-Dean couldn’t be substantiated.

County officers have refused to launch a replica of the report and claimed in late Could that a number of the info was protected by attorney-client privilege.

In late July, officers with the Texas Lawyer Normal’s Workplace dominated that the data could possibly be withheld from the general public regardless of KSAT’s enchantment.

County officers, to this point, have refused to substantiate how a lot cash was paid to Kelmar and its investigators to place the report collectively, regardless of repeated requests over a number of months from the Defenders asking for that info.

The worker retired in June whereas dealing with a proposed termination and earlier this 12 months filed an Equal Employment Alternative Fee in opposition to the county naming Smith-Dean.

Officers this month refused to make Diaz obtainable for an interview about her cybersecurity expertise, however mentioned she utilized after the place was posted internally and was then chosen for the function.

County auditor paperwork handed over to the KSAT 12 Defenders following an open information request supplied few clues about Diaz’s transfer to the brand new place. The part on the backside of the worker standing kind certifying the transfer was left clean.

This part, labeled ‘All Different Adjustments,’ usually incorporates details about why a rise or lower in pay is going down.

Fourth EEOC criticism filed in opposition to Smith-Dean

A number of sources verify a longtime county worker this month filed a federal employment criticism in opposition to the county, which particularly names Smith-Dean.

The criticism accuses Smith-Dean of retaliation, sources mentioned.

It’s the fourth EEOC criticism filed in opposition to Smith-Dean since final fall.

Assistant Bexar County Manager Tina Smith-Dean.
Assistant Bexar County Supervisor Tina Smith-Dean. (KSAT)

County funds analyst Alexandria Millan final 12 months filed two EEOC complaints in opposition to the county.

RELATED: Bexar County hires ombudsperson following string of complaints from workers

Millan was faraway from her funds analyst place in late Could and reassigned to the county’s buying division in one other constructing.

County officers declare Millan was reassigned as a result of she was uniquely certified to assist a number of county businesses handle COVID-19 associated expenditures.

Her legal professional, nonetheless, mentioned the transfer was punishment for talking out in opposition to Smith-Dean, after Millan accused her of unfair remedy at work and retaliation.

“…this place is to be handled confidentially…”

County funds information obtained by the Defenders present that Smith-Dean’s annual wage has elevated by greater than $43,000, to greater than $174,000, since she was promoted to assistant county supervisor in 2012.

It has been no straightforward activity in current months for the Defenders to trace the manager’s pay, nonetheless, as her wage and advantages is split up amongst 4 county departments: HR, funds, administration & finance and medical insurance.

Smith in an e-mail despatched earlier this month referred to that strategy as “activity-based costing”.

After the Defenders requested payroll standing information for Smith-Dean and different present and former county supervisors, officers launched a single sheet of paper for Smith-Dean.

Her pay jumps, which embody a number of “reclassifications” of her place and at the very least one benefit improve, have taken place with out Smith-Dean receiving a promotion, in accordance with funds information offered by county sources.

A reclassification takes place when elementary adjustments happen in an worker’s job duties over an prolonged time period. These adjustments should be “the results of deliberate enterprise adjustments, organizational restructuring or adjustments in a program mission,” in accordance with county coverage.

An e-mail offered to the Defenders reveals the lengths county officers went to in the summertime of 2012 to maintain the creation of the assistant county supervisor place and Smith-Dean’s appointment to it below wraps, though it was to be funded by public cash.

“At this second, this place is to be handled confidentially and will solely be mentioned with (redacted),” states a July 2012 e-mail written by Smith’s chief of employees, Thomas Guevara.

Smith didn’t handle Smith-Dean’s place throughout a quick, terse interview with the Defenders following commissioners courtroom earlier this month, though the subject had been offered to a county spokesperson forward of time.

Bexar County Manager David Smith.
Bexar County Supervisor David Smith. (KSAT)

Smith acknowledged solely that he would look into it and that Smith-Dean’s wage and advantages could have been divided that manner as a result of that’s how she could be allocating her work.

In an e-mail despatched days later, Smith defended the secrecy surrounding the creation of the place.

“Reorganizations are dealt with in a delicate and confidential method with a purpose to keep away from misinformation and confusion amongst workers that could be affected. There isn’t a expectation that info is to be stored from the general public. That is merely to permit sufficient time for affected workers to be briefed appropriately by their respective supervisors,” Smith mentioned in an e-mail.

County officers additionally offered the Defenders a 2012 administration report from Smith outlining an extended checklist of initiatives he and the county had undertaken.

Smith-Dean’s appointment is listed on the finish of the six-page report.

Bexar County chief of staff Thomas Guevara.
Bexar County chief of employees Thomas Guevara. (KSAT)

County officers confirmed Guevara signed for his personal price of dwelling wage improve for the 2013-14 fiscal 12 months, after the Defenders obtained information displaying his signature on the fee sheet that listed him and different workers within the county supervisor’s workplace.

When requested if it was normal to have Guevara’s signature on the sheet as a substitute of his personal, Smith replied, “For each division head. They’re ready by HR. They’re referred to as price sheets. So, sure, you could possibly actually discover a whole lot of these.”

The sheets, nonetheless, comprise language printed on them that states: “The auditor will solely settle for the signature of the Workplace or Division’s Elected or Appointed Official.”

Moreover, the Defenders in current weeks reviewed a whole lot of pages of Bexar County prices sheets going again almost a decade, and overwhelmingly, they have been signed by the heads of county departments or elected officers themselves.

One former elected official, who spoke with the Defenders on the situation of anonymity, referred to as Guevara’s signature on the fee sheet an uncommon transfer.

The county has additionally defended a major pay improve given to funds supervisor Tanya Gaitan within the fall of 2017.

Bexar County budget manager Tanya Gaitan.
Bexar County funds supervisor Tanya Gaitan. (KSAT)

Regardless of shifting up solely a single pay grade and retaining the identical job title, funds information present Gaitan acquired a elevate of over 17%, nicely above the minimal of the brand new pay grade she was promoted to.

County coverage on promotions states that an worker is to be given an 8% elevate or have his or her wage risen to the minimal of the brand new pay grade, whichever is larger.

RELATED: Memo: Bexar County Supervisor David Smith directed workers to obtain absolution

Smith declined to deal with Gaitan’s pay improve throughout the interview, claiming it was not a query he was advised he could be requested forward of time.

Smith additionally supplied to supply a replica of the county’s promotion coverage, even after this reporter quoted strains from the coverage verbatim.

Days later, after the query was despatched to a county spokesperson, Smith replied through e-mail that Gaitan acquired the numerous elevate after a reclassification of her place.

County officers didn’t present an inventory of Gaitan’s extra duties or work she had been doing outdoors the scope of her place’s description.

After the Defenders shared with officers the adopted funds merchandise for Gaitan’s reclassification, which confirmed her wage improve was nicely beneath what she really acquired, a spokesperson mentioned through e-mail the rise was increased than what was detailed within the funds e book as a result of Gaitan had been reclassified to a brand new pay desk put collectively by HR for that fiscal 12 months.

Smith says constable workplace’s aren’t being focused for cuts

When Ruben Duran was knowledgeable that his deputy constable place with Bexar County Precinct 2 was being eradicated in March 2017, he mentioned the information hit him like a ton of bricks.

The discount in drive got here outdoors the county’s funds cycle and introduced an abrupt finish to his 36-year profession in regulation enforcement.

Duran labored for the Texas Division of Public Security for 26 years after which after popping out of retirement, labored for Precinct 2 for near a decade.

Former Bexar County Precinct 2 deputy constable Ruben Duran.
Former Bexar County Precinct 2 deputy constable Ruben Duran. (KSAT)

“I used to be advised that the county commissioners had determined they wanted to scale back a number of the deputies,” mentioned Duran. “It brought about marital issues with my spouse and I.”

Duran is much from alone in venting frustration about how county officers have addressed the budgets for constable’s workplaces lately.

This fiscal 12 months, officers minimize a complete of 20 deputy constable positions, 19 that have been occupied and one which was already vacant, in accordance with a county spokesperson.

That determine, nonetheless, would have doubtless been a lot increased had members of the 4 precincts not protested a proposal this summer time that referred to as for a complete of 38 positions to be eliminated.

Smith scoffed at the concept that he and funds employees have focused the 4 constable’s workplaces for cuts lately.

“I don’t think about them a goal. I believe any funds we take a look at, is that an environment friendly solution to employees that operate? That’s path we’ve been offered by the courtroom over time,” mentioned Smith.

When the Defenders described the wage will increase of some county employees engaged on the highest flooring of the Elizondo Tower, Duran mentioned, “If that’s simply the tip of the iceberg, what else is occurring?”

Copyright 2020 by KSAT – All rights reserved.

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