Submitted to Shelton Blog by Jack Miles
The 6/21/11 Port Meeting was no different than any of the other meetings. For starters, I asked Commissioners Hupp and Wallitner if they believed that Mr. Dobson was justified in sending harassing emails to Teresa Rebo; coercing her to sign the "Last Chance Agreement and Disciplinary Action Plan"; and then subsequently firing her. The Hupp/Wallitner response was "absolutely". It is often hard for me to understand the mentality of my fellow commissioners.
I also found out that Mr. Dobson used Suzanne Michael, the outside counsel and same attorney who hired the investigator to address/whitewash Teresa Rebo’s concerns about the Port for the termination process. This same Suzanne Michael drafted the “Last Chance Agreement and Disciplinary Action Plan” that Mr. Dobson was coercing Ms. Rebo to sign.
Mr. Dobson most definitely did not give Ms. Rebo adequate notice that this document needed to be signed by 10 am, June 20, 2011. (This is a good example of how Mr. Dobson operates.) The e-mails and the "Last Chance Agreement and Disciplinary Action Plan" were designed to try to establish some sort of pretext critical of Ms. Rebo’s conduct at the Port. Mr. Dobson knew he had no documentation to support his claims that Ms. Rebo was insubordinate.
I decided to consult with a colleague who has a background in Human Resources. I asked him what would be typical to have in a personnel file. After my discussion with him, I gathered the following items that would usually be found in an employee's file:On Monday at 8:21 am, Mr. Dobson sent Ms. Rebo a message to her personal email account, well knowing Ms. Rebo was already at work at the Port, and does not access her personal email account from work. The email stated that Ms. Rebo had only until 10 am that same day to sign the "Last Chance Agreement and Disciplinary Action Plan" or she would be terminated.
- A copy of Ms. Rebo’s personnel file (which I was given written permission from Ms. Rebo to obtain).
- A signed copy of the "Last Chance Agreement" signed by Dobson and Wendy Smith as witnesses.
- A copy of the Job Description of the Property Development Manager.
- A copy of notes from Mr. Dobson relating to his initial consultation with Ms. Rebo when she was hired, and what his expectations were regarding her duties and responsibilities as the Property Development Manager.
- A copy of notes from Mr. Dobson regarding Ms. Rebo's 6-month employee performance evaluation, and her 1-year employee evaluation.
- A written response as to why Ms. Rebo was given a raise.
- A copy of any and all notes, emails and/or letters advising Ms. Rebo of poor performance.
- A copy of the Executive Director’s Employee Evaluation Program and Performance Evaluation written policy Guide Book.
In addition, it should be noted that RCW 42.41 states: “The purpose of this chapter is to protect local government employees who make good-faith reports to appropriate governmental bodies and to provide remedies for individuals who are subject to retaliation for having made such reports.“
To date, Mr. Dobson has never established a policy for staff on the procedures to follow for reporting such information, nor has he provided information to employees regarding proper procedure should anyone believe misconduct has occurred as in RCW 42.41.020 (paragraph 3) defining “Retaliatory Action”. I invite everyone to please read this chapter. Some of the examples cited therein are: frequent and undesirable office changes; unwarranted and unsubstantiated letters of reprimand or unsatisfactory performance evaluations; disciplinary action or dismissal, etc.
Also, in RCW 42.41.045, “Prohibition on intimidation of whistle blower“, it states: “A local government official or employee may not use his or her official authority or influence, directly or indirectly, to threaten, intimidate, or coerce an employee for the purpose of interfering with that employee’s right to disclose information concerning an improper governmental action."
Bottom line: The Port Commission has put the Port in legal jeopardy yet again.
Currently, the Port is facing litigation for other actions by Mr. Dobson (referenced when I spoke at the Port’s 6/1/10 meeting), including the firing of (2) employees at the Port and calling it a “Re-organization at the Port”. This resulted in a claim of $700,000 in damages. Such damages would be paid for with taxpayer money if a judgment against the Port is entered.
After sounding the alarm for many months regarding Mr. Dobson’s failure to exercise acceptable judgment in the use of taxpayer money, perhaps it is time to renew calls for his resignation and/or termination. I suggest that citizens demand that Mr. Dobson be dismissed. Any Port decision to protect/rescue Mr. Dobson yet again may prove to be very costly to the taxpayers of Mason County.
I urge everyone to support Teresa Rebo!
Jack Miles http://www.webackjackmiles.com/