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Reclamation Recap 9/13/2010
The Lake Chelan Reclamation District is still in the process of addressing issues raised by a report that investigated employee complaints. Those claims included double standards from management, as well as a hostile work environment. Several employees brought a petition to the board of commissioners in April. The following month, the board hired Gil Sparks, an attorney with the firm Ogden Murphy Wallace, to interview current employees, past employees, board members and management, then compile his findings in a report. Sparks presented his 73-page report to the board of commissioners in June. "CLICK HERE" for Audio
The report included a list of 15 recommendations."CLICK HERE" for Audio
At that June meeting, the entire document was made public… an action that some considered to be a mistake. So when it came time to pay the attorney’s bill during July’s meeting, which totals about 27-thousand-600 dollars, Commissioner Bob Christopher recommended that the board withhold payment. "CLICK HERE" for Audio
The board voted 3-1 to delay paying Ogden Murphy Wallace until the attorney general’s office could weigh in on whether it was appropriate to release the report publicly. Christopher wrote and mailed the letter to the attorney general’s office last month. He wrote [quote], “In the interviews, all individuals were told that the details of the discussion were to be held in strictest confidentiality…. We have concerns regarding the appropriateness and/or potential liability of these confidential statements being made public.” He added [quote], “The very next day following Mr. Sparks’ releasing of his report, the District employees contacted the Teamsters Union to represent them.” As of last week, District Manager Kem Carr said he hadn’t received a response from the attorney general’s office. Seven employees are now certified members of the Teamsters union, and negotiations will be conducted between the Reclamation District and union reps. The district’s attorney, Stan Bastion, told the board it should wait to implement some of the report’s recommendations until a contract is signed with the union. That process could take up to one year. Meanwhile, the commissioners did agree to work on a performance evaluation for Carr. They’ll also look into board training after the first of the year, since an election coming up in November could bring in some new board members. Employees’ medical records have been placed in a new, secure storage area by the manager as well. The board will meet tomorrow morning, 8:00 at the Reclamation District office on Wapato Way.