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Grievance ends with 5 suggestions for county

A grievance was filed against county manager Brandon Rogers by library manager Rosemary Bunn who said Rogers created a hostile work environment. On May 2, the county appeals committee held a public hearing which was widely attended at the courthouse.

The committee concluded the complaint was “inconclusive” but they made several recommendations to the board of commissioners to be implemented immediately. The recommendations include seeking a conflict resolution mediator not associated with the county to address the situation; adopting a policy that outlines hostile work environment harassment; adopting procedures and policies regarding how future coaching session/written warning/verbal warning documentations are conducted by any county employee against another employee and ensure that it be witnessed by a non-county employee; providing employee climate surveys after the first 90 for all new employees, every six months for all employees and upon separation for all employees; and establishing a Grievance Committee, guidelines and procedures outlining how to handle grievances.

Bunn said during the May 2 hearing that Rogers has repeatedly told her not to adhere to orders from the Flint River Regional Library System and the library board – which her job title expressly states she must, asking things such as, “Can the board fire you?” and “Can the FRRLS fire you?”

She said that during a meeting with Rogers and library board chairman Anthony Vinson (a former HR manager), Rogers was verbally abusive, said he didn’t trust her and gestured at her “aggressively” with the point of a pen and accused her of making him look bad in front of commissioners during the 2022 department head retreat.

Bunn was summoned to a meeting with Rogers Feb. 16 and she requested a third party be present so Brooke Gaddy from Pike’s HR attended. Bunn said instead of a meeting, she was issued an unexpected formal written warning for unsatisfactory performance, insubordination and failure to communicate. She said she refused to sign the written warning since it was unfounded.

Bunn also claimed Rogers had the county’s MOU rewritten to diminish the role of the library by severing their relationship with FRRLS ad dismantling the library board.

Bunn said an accident happened at the library while she was attending a commission meeting, resulting in the injury of a library employee. At the same meeting, she reported the accident to the county attorney to make sure the library was covered under workman’s comp. Bunn was later called to Rogers office on April 10 and she asked that someone accompany her and commissioner James Jenkins did so. She was given a second written warning for unsatisfactory performance, insubordination and failure to communicate regarding the injury at the library.

Commissioner Jenkins said he did not witness any hostility during the meeting that day but since the incident was reported and the employee decided not to file for workman’s comp, that there should never have been a write up.

Rogers denied all the allegations against him and said he did not have any witnesses to speak on his behalf because he did not want to make them uncomfortable and suggested they be spoken to privately so they could be more honest.

“It is my opinion that Mrs. Bunn is upset that she has been counseled on her job performance and is seeking a form of retaliation,” Rogers said.

The letter issued by the appeals committee ended with, “While it may not be the outcome that you may have hoped for, we want you to know that your courage to make such a claim will no doubt be the catalyst for change and will hopefully lead to lifelong changes throughout the county and the relationship it has with its employees.”

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