The Leaf-Chronicle (Clarksville, Tennessee)
BYLINE: By, Allison Smith
Three Clarksville Building and Codes employees have filed grievances against Director Les Crocker, according to city documents.
The forms were filed in early March by Brigitte Papastathis, codes enforcement supervisor, Jenifer Rougemont, codes officer, and Randall Matthews, codes officer, alleging harassment, defamation of employees and misconduct.
Matthews is also alleging wrongful termination, saying Crocker accused him of abusing his lunch hour when, he says, Crocker set a new department lunch standard without announcing it.
In an email complaint to Crocker, Matthews said he complied with a daily activity sheet Crocker requested he fill out beginning in February 2011 during a 90-day probationary period.
Even though Matthews successfully went through the 90-day probation, in July he again received a complaint from Crocker about abusive lunches, and he was fired on Aug. 8. Matthews was reinstated by Mayor Kim McMillan, which he says proves he was unfairly terminated.
Matthews also mentions he was required by Crocker to submit a doctor’s note and photos of the pill bottles for some hydrocodone he needed to take for back pain and headaches. From this, he alleges defamation of employees because Crocker told an outside person about her nephew, also a codes employee, hanging around drug users in the department.
“All of this occurred shortly after Les requested my pill bottle, which is private information,” he said in his statement.
When confronted by Matthews, Crocker told him he was not talking about Matthews, but about Rougemont, whom he considered a bad influence.
Promised raises, harassment
Rougemont and Matthews both issued statements about a conversation in which Crocker told them they would receive raises and told them the appeal date. When the date had passed, Crocker told both that he had made a mistake and they were not getting raises, but it was too late to appeal.
Rougemont also said in her grievance that she has had other harassment issues with Crocker but there are “just too many to list.”
Papastathis made similar complaints about harassment over her employment, which she says went from receiving praise for her job to potentially having her job abolished, all in one day.
In a closed session during the April regular session of the City Council, the council approved hiring outside legal counsel Constangy, Brooks and Smith to handle the matter. Mary Dohner-Smith is the attorney overseeing the case, and she was not available for comment by press time.
Jennifer Rawls, the Clarksville public information officer, said the city will not comment on the matter.
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