WEDNESDAY, Oct. 25 — Jose Flores’ hands were shaking when he took to the podium during public comment at the Ingham County Board of Commissioners' meeting last night.
An employee of the Ingham County Road Department, Flores, like others of his co-workers, wasn’t satisfied with the county’s response to multiple complaints of bullying and retaliation by Andrew Dunn, the department’s operations director.
“We came over here two weeks ago in regards to one director of operations who had created a hostile work environment, an unsafe work environment,” Flores told the board. “And there’s nothing being done today. It’s like it’s getting swept under the rug: ‘There’s nothing to see here,' everybody keeps moving along.”
“This is my career,” Flores said. “I used to love coming in to work. Now, I hate coming into work. And it’s sorry for the citizens of this county, which I live in. Enough people have quit already, and others are still thinking of quitting, because morale is low and they don’t want to work under this person. People quitting with two years, five years, 16 years’ experience are going to be hard to replace from one day to another,” Flores said.
Another speaker, who called in virtually, was Ryan Ackley of Aurelius Township, a 22-year department veteran.
Referring to a resolution that the commissioners passed earlier in the meeting supporting the striking UAW workers, Ackley said:
“I would like to point out the great irony with this board’s resolution in solidarity with the United Auto Workers today. In light of this situation, in which a ton of the union employees were being harassed and retaliated against for speaking, I just find it very ironic. The fact that nothing is being done about this obvious and blatant corruption I think is ridiculous, and I truly hope that it becomes a union grievance.”
Some department workers are members of the Technical, Professional, and Officeworkers Association, a public employees’ labor organization.
Kelly Jones, managing director of the Road Department, told the commissioners, “I just want to clarify and to reassure that I have heard the concern, and I’m listening. But it does take time for changes to be made."
“I am working with the individual that they’re referencing. There is a performance improvement plan that is taking place, but it does take time for changes to be made, so I want to make sure that that is understood.”
District 9 Commissioner Ryan Sebolt also said the county is taking steps to address the issue.
“For the commissioners who do not have the benefit of sitting on the County Services Committee, I will let you know that the county has heard the complaints that have been brought forward by the Road Department and has investigated the complaints," Sebolt said. "We did receive an update on what is being found in the result of those complaints at the County Services Committee last week.”
Efforts to reach Dunn for comment were not immediately successful.
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