Wednesday, April 23, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Employees testify about bullying

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From page A1 | November 04, 2013 | 16 Comments

Twenty-one year county employee Sam Koch, now retired, testified that in his years with the county, during many of which he served as a shop steward for the El Dorado County Employees Association Local 1, that he “had many opportunities to see bullying by supervisors and managers. I was aware of things done to others, but it was always done in the ‘best interests of the department.’ I don’t know how you make a policy effective when it’s done (the bullying) for the good of the department,” Koch said.

Relating his own experience being bullied, he said “there was no concrete evidence of what the (department) director was doing,” and he acknowledged the difficulty authorities would have trying to enforce such a policy.

Local consultant Dan Dellinger described his testimony as coming at “great personal risk” and urged the board to “stop abusive department heads” and include protections for companies and ordinary citizens doing business with the county. “You need to set up a mechanism where people can come without fear of (retribution)” and added with visible emotion, “I’m a victim (of practices that) ruin your lives.”

Dellinger is currently involved in a case brought by District Attorney Vern Pierson over allegations related to a questionable consulting contract with the Pioneer Fire Protection District Board of Directors in 2011 that preceded a voter-approved, increased tax assessment for service within the district, according to the grand jury report from 2011-2012.

Jere Copeland, executive director of the employees association, addressed the board Tuesday and described “bullying” as a “gray area” within the county structure that is not clearly defined compared to adopted policies prohibiting harassment or violence in the workplace. Those and related policies deal with specific acts and/or with specific populations or members of “special groups” such as minorities that are generally protected by civil rights laws.

“I’m abused but not in ways that have policies,” Copeland said in trying to describe the problem.

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Discussion | 16 comments

  • 1036-FrankNovember 03, 2013 - 3:31 pm

    So now a person who doesn't work for the county chimes in about policy for county employees that doesn't apply to them in the first place and someone wants to be labeled a "victim" because he is prosecuted for illegal actions? Who's next? This whole idea is a farce. The problem, if this was ever implemented, will be in the definition of the meaning implied and who's tool it becomes for a weapon against other employees and supervisors.

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  • Phil VeerkampNovember 03, 2013 - 4:33 pm

    ". . . Dellinger is currently involved in a case brought by District Attorney Vern Pierson over allegations related to a questionable consulting contract with the Pioneer Fire Protection District Board of Directors in 2011 . . . " - What I want to know is just who in the world is going to sic the Grand Jury on D. A. Pierson over his IT cluster f*^k? Bullying by Pierson? Bullying by Harn? Tag team?

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  • Fran DuchampNovember 03, 2013 - 5:10 pm

    1036...watch the vid--it really wasnt about supervisors in the room...unless they spoke...and depending on what they said...well. By directing it to staff--they took a hit. Many are gathering to say--does the BOS work for staff now? And by showing little compassion--some of the higher ups...needed to be told they need someone to come in and fix it. These were grown men that came to tears. Women who have been mis treated. One had to be in the room to realise what the emotion was...anger and despair...to blow off anything that was said in that room--is an example of ignoring the problem. If you were not in that room--all the articles and videos will not explain the whole "human" element that was displayed. There were many people who spoke...it was not a farce. It was real. And it was sad. One man lost everything...won in court--but could not bring back his marriage--the emotional turmoil his kids went through...never mind--if you were not in that room...you will never be able to describe what happened.

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  • Fran DuchampNovember 03, 2013 - 5:19 pm

    Whatever it is--it needs to be fixed...now. A "process" is insulting--just do something now. Or ten years from now--we will still be talking about a "process"--really?

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  • 1036-FrankNovember 03, 2013 - 6:55 pm

    Was this the culture of "victimology" I saw on display at the BOS? Seems there were several themes, there were some people who were former county employees who ran into trouble at work and want some type of further review long after the fact of their issues I guess. Some want a new authority created, outside of court and the previous settlements they made it seems for workplace issues already settled. These type of issues are common in all counties, there are always employee/management issues and Unions and courthouses to deal with it. This is the system as it is. Mixed in with this were some members of the public claiming "injury" from elected people and several were ones who "know" things are going on as they were told they were. Some were even demanding outsiders be brought in for something, for what? If they are so sure call the FBI, they are outsiders. People have a choice if they dislike elected people and their actions, it is called an election and they can vote against them or run against them. There is no need for another layer of second guessing. The court is where a jury decides issues of wrongdoing, guilt or innocence. What is interesting and perhaps the most important is the list of people seen and heard and their motives on display for all to see. Figure out the motive behind the person, as in if they are under indictment or facing serious charges or past charges and the truth will be found.

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  • robertdnollNovember 03, 2013 - 7:23 pm

    obscene language

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  • Fran DuchampNovember 03, 2013 - 9:35 pm

    Frank...I am speechless. You are wrong...and it is sad. I have been a victim of rage...I was a child. I was a victim. I felt despair.. You can see it--if you have ever felt it. These people are victims--their souls hurt. It is real--and it is sad. And it was sad to read your comment. but you are welcome to your opinion.

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  • JimBoNovember 04, 2013 - 4:31 am

    Phil, you wonder who is going to sic the GJ on the D.A. for the IT screw ups...the BOS is unfazed, they are going to approve a $500,000.00 piece of software on Tuesday for the inexperienced County Facilities Manager Russ Fackrell to track a few contracts!

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  • Nobody messes with JoeNovember 04, 2013 - 6:18 am

    Verbal and psychological abuse occurring in one on one interactions are incredibly difficult to sort out in any work environment. Coupling victims rights with innocent until proven guilty of the accused is a legal no man's land for HR and legal counsel. Both have fiduciary responsibilities to their employer, the county, so the ball is clearly in the union's court for an employee safe harbor . Dealing with elected types in such matters is far more problematic. Look no further than the Auditor-Controller, the bully in the china shop.

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  • EvelynNovember 04, 2013 - 3:42 pm

    26-year veteran County Employee Comments About BOS Agenda Item (Bullying of Employees) - HERE: "Bullying, intimidation, hounding, targeting, prejudicial behavior, offensive conduct exists in El Dorado County government employment. I worked for the county from 1976 to 2002. l witnessed others being targeted and experienced bullying myself throughout many levels of positions and departments."

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  • EvelynNovember 04, 2013 - 3:44 pm

    Is rampant Bullying in the County being hidden by Personnel 'Confidentiality' - HERE

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  • Ryan DonnerNovember 05, 2013 - 8:35 pm

    This is exactly my story from a year ago. I sat on the Grand Jury though, so it was easier to sweep it under the rug. Bullying and harassment are a major issue in El Dorado County. In my instance nobody wanted to hear what I had to say because there is no clear line for who is actually in charge of the Grand Jury. Human Resources has protocol for what to do when instances of bullying are brought to their attention. The court system has little protocol to deal with this subject. My only option to cure my issue was for me to resign. This was deeply troubling to me as I loved what I was doing in the County.

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  • Vicci NolanNovember 06, 2013 - 6:18 am

    With cronyism rampant, its easy to imagine bullying among El Dorado County employees. They've been abusing the public for years. Too many long-time employees--with questionable competence--too comfy in their jobs.

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  • Phil VeerkampNovember 11, 2013 - 8:23 am

    LINK - Calif. State Court of Appeals to Investigate DA Vern Pierson's Conduct "Ray Nutting’s attorneys have received word from the Calif. State Court of Appeals Third Appellate District that his case has been accepted for further review. This is quite a win for the Nutting camp because The Court generally rejects 95% of the appeals it receives. The Court will now review the issues of the District Attorney’s misinstruction of the Grand Jury regarding . . . "

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  • Oh BrotherNovember 11, 2013 - 9:33 am

    About time somebody checks into Vern Pierson AND Bill Clark.

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  • Fran DuchampNovember 11, 2013 - 8:37 am

    Thanks Phil...now everyone is innocent until proven guilty...but others outside of the realm are paying attention. Could someone please look at the economic groups as well...and the chambers...and any councils that have unelected people on them...and staff for the BOS (all new people from Amador--just to check....) FBI--are you watching? New Grand Jury? Innocent until proven guilty...will people jump ship now and run? Stayed tuned to The World Turns--just not in El Dorado County...and the Placerville City Council...PMC...nonprofits cuddling up to CEDAC and CEDAPP...The El Dorado County Library (higher ups--not innocents.) Should be an interesting time for El Dorado--I hope the people who came forward on the day of "bullying"--hang just enough to see if they can find some peace of mind. I still remember my phone call form the library--you need to stop this line of questioning...this was after everyone changed their statements...such small groups deciding for a whole. Bullying--I was accused of that for complaining about using donations for carpet in a public building....let me know when everyone is arrested--Id like to go to that court to watch. Good luck Ray and family...you will have your day in court.

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