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Employee indecision prompts court action

October 18, 2023 - 00:00
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  • Employee indecision prompts court action
    Employee indecision prompts court action

ANDERSON — Employee indecision forced Grimes County Commissioners into action with some of the commissioners questioning the legality of the process.

Commissioners met during a special called meeting Oct. 10, to discuss the resignation of Grimes County Subdivision Coordinator Todd Greene, who was also serving as Road and Bridge Administrator.

Grimes County Judge Joe Fauth III said Greene informed him he was accepting a position with Montgomery County. According to Fauth, this was not the first time Greene submitted his resignation.

Commissioner David Tullos questioned Fauth as to why the court or the search committee that was formed to hire a new Road and Bridge Engineer was not notified of Greene’s resignation. Former Road and Bridge Engineer, Harry Walker, recently retired, so the committee was formed to find his replacement.

Per Tullos’s request, Fauth provided a timeline of Greene’s resignation.

Friday, Sept. 22: Greene placed a letter of resignation on Harry Walker’s desk.

Sunday, Sept. 24: Greene removed the letter before Walker had a chance to see it.

Week of Sept. 25-29: Sometime during the week Greene had a conversation with Walker stating he was accepting a position with Montgomery County. By lunchtime the same day, Greene changed his mind and said he was staying with Grimes County.

Thursday, Sept. 28: During Walker’s retirement party, Walker told Fauth he needed to speak with him. They went to Walker’s offi ce. Walker handed Fauth Green’s resignation letter.

Monday, Oct. 2: Greene asked Fauth if it was too late to withdraw his resignation stating he currently had a good schedule and if he went to Montgomery County, he would be the low man on the totem pole and would have to work nights and weekends.

Fauth allowed Greene to withdraw his resignation.

Thursday, Oct. 5: Greene met with Fauth early in the morning and stated he was accepting the job with Montgomery County.

Fauth said Greene told him he was taking vacation the week of Oct. 9-13, and his final day with Grimes County would be Oct. 13, because he had to report to Montgomery County Oct. 14.

“You’re kidding me, right,” Fauth said was his initial response to Greene. Fauth previously worked with Greene to have the court approve a $4,000 per month stipend for Greene to fill the position of Road and Bridge Administrator so there would be leadership in that department during the search for a Road and Bridge Engineer.

Fauth asked Greene if the resignation was the final decision, which Greene confirmed. “I said well don’t come back in 90 days and say you changed your mind, because we’re moving forward based on what you are telling me this morning,” Fauth said he told Greene during that conversation.

“Having a little time to reflect, I should have handled it a little bit differently in my opinion,” said Fauth. “When he said he is going to be on vacation this week, and his last day would be Oct. 13, I should have told him that is fine for your plans, but it doesn’t necessarily meet our plans. I’ll accept your resignation effective today and we will just pay you out for your vacation time as we do other employees that resign from the county.”

Fauth said he doesn’t believe Greene should be paid the stipend during his vacation. “I don’t feel like the county is obligated to pay him the stipend this week because we’re not getting the value for the money that we as a court decided to provide him,” stated Fauth.

“I hate to destroy the friendship we have with Mr. Green because he has been a loyal employee to the county for many years, and I hate to end it on kind of a sour note, but I am frustrated in the way he was off again, on again, off again…,” said Fauth.

“At what point was the court notified that Mr. Green had resigned the first, second or third time,” asked Tullos. “It seems to me that the court probably should have been notified the first time he turned in the resignation to Mr. Walker. And it certainly would have been advantageous to notify the members of the search committee that were looking to hire a replacement for that position.”

Commissioner Phillip Cox voiced his frustration of not being notified that Greene was resigning or even contemplating resignation. He stated there were ample opportunities for someone to mention it.

Cox said there are things to remember. “This is not a position that Grimes County Court created, this is a position created by the voters,” he said. “It is governed by statute.” While reviewing the statute, Cox said he counted a minimum of 15 times that commissioners court or the court was referenced. He said County Judge or Human Resources Director was never mentioned in the statute.

According to the statute Cox said it is the responsibility of Commissioners Court to appoint a Road and Bridge Engineer. “So, all these resignations, and rescinding resignations, and appointing people back, that is out of the statute,” said Cox. “Nobody had any authority to approve any of it. The minute that the resignation was submitted, it should have been set on an agenda, just like today.”

The way I look at it, because the employee, Todd Green, was back and forth; until we had a final decision, an ultimate decision, there is no sense in bringing the information to the court,” said Fauth.

After convening in closed session, commissioners appointed David Lily, who currently serves as Emergency Management Coordinator, as Interim Subdivisions Coordinator. Lily previously worked in that role for Grimes County.

The court also appointed Patti Ermis as Interim Road and Bridge Administrator. She will receive a $4,000 per month stipend for that role. She currently serves at the Road and Bridge Executive Assistant.

Comcast Permit

Commissioners approved a permit request for Comcast. Ermis said the area on CR 302 was surveyed.

According to the plans, Comcast will go underground for the majority but will go above ground at Whippoorwill Road just past Lone Star Road. They will go underground again at CR 302 go above ground for 300 feet and then back in the ground to FM 1774. There will only be three different crossings on CR 302. And they will follow the same line as Mid-South Fiber line.

A portion of the project goes through Precinct 4. Commissioner Phillip Cox will be first contact if there is a problem and Judge Joe Fauth will be the secondary contact.

Burn Ban

No action was taken on the burn ban that was implemented July 28. It is set to expire Oct. 26, unless the court decides to extend it or lift the ban sooner.

The video of the meeting may be viewed on the Grimes County Courthouse Facebook page.