The Resignation of Sara Bowers DFS

Discussion in 'Local Government and Groups' started by Misty, Apr 18, 2016.

  1. Misty

    Misty Banned

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2011
    Messages:
    2,787
    Likes Received:
    468
    The abrupt resignation of Sara Bowers as the City Manager for Defuniak Springs never made the SoWal Forum...my guess as to why...it's not about SoWal. However, it is worthy of discussion.

    Sara Bowers found herself at the center of controversy last year involving the way she handled the investigation of allegations of racial harassment by two city police officers against a co-worker and their subsequent termination. That case went to arbitration and the city was forced to re-hire them because of violations of their employment rights until she terminated them a second time. That issue is still not resolved.

    In her separation agreement with the city, Bowers will receive three months salary which has made the City of Defuniak liable for a total payout of approximately $53,874. That amount represents not only three months’ severance pay, which comes to an estimated $19,596, but also $10,533 and $14,861, respectively, for the 258 hours of vacation time and ¼ of the 1,454 hours of eligible sick leave Bowers accumulated since taking the position in 2012. Additionally, the city will have to pay $8,082 in benefits ranging from Medicare to dental insurance as well as $802.00 in taxes-on-leave payouts. Though none of these amounts are set in stone, Finance Director Tom Brown referred to them as being solid “ballpark figures” with regard to the separation and release agreement approved by the City Council at its March 28 meeting. (Source DFS Herald)

    So, if I have all this correct from everything that has been printed by the media and official statements made by the City itself Ms. Bowers fired 2 DFS police officers which the City was then forced to rehire because of violations of their employment rights, who were then terminated again by Ms. Bowers. According to WZEP's new blurb about her abrupt resignation the City of DFS had scheduled a special meeting to discuss Ms. Bowers performance but the meeting was pre-empted by Ms Bowers resignation.

    So where was the City Attorney (Clayton Adkinson) during all this mess? Well, he was busy preparing Ms. Bowers lucrative separation agreement with DFS and billing the City for his time even though he was not directed by the City to do so.

    How nice! Ms. Bowers gets a cushy separation agreement drawn up by the City Attorney himself with no direction from Council and the taxpayers are left to foot the bill for not only Ms. Bowers agreement, but Mr. Adkinson's lucrative salary and the citizens are left with ongoing litigation in regard to the 2 terminated police officers.

    It's is my fervent hope that one day the Citizens of Defuniak will tire of being held hostage by the current City Attorney and that the City will grow some kahunas and find a City an attorney who will do the biding of its constituents rather than a man who long ago got to big for his britches!
     
  2. John G

    John G Beach Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2014
    Messages:
    1,804
    Likes Received:
    297
    Under every rock...pick one up. Adkinson.
     
  3. BeachArkie

    BeachArkie Beach Lover

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2008
    Messages:
    155
    Likes Received:
    43
    Location:
    Seagrove
    Getting paid for your unused vacation and sick time I understand, getting 3 months of severance pay when you resign before you can be fired is ridiculous.
     
  4. Misty

    Misty Banned

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2011
    Messages:
    2,787
    Likes Received:
    468

    I also understand the unused sick/vacation time.

    The rest...I think, is "hush money". The City Attorney's action in this are also mind boggling but if you want someone to go away quietly wrap $53,874 in a sweet little package and call it severance pay. Where else in the known world would a City Attorney take it upon himself, without direction from the City Council to deliver such a lucrative package to an employee whose actions are and have been questionable at best, criminal at worst. (Only in Walton County!)

    Kudos to Janie Griffith for at least recognizing that something is very wrong here and best of luck to her trying to right this atrocious wrong.

    The City Attorney wanted those 2 police officers gone and I hope Sara Bowers now recognizes she was scapegoated.
     
  5. Bob Hudson

    Bob Hudson Beach Fanatic

    Joined:
    May 10, 2008
    Messages:
    1,054
    Likes Received:
    540
    Location:
    Santa Rosa Beach
  6. Misty

    Misty Banned

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2011
    Messages:
    2,787
    Likes Received:
    468
    ^^ This would be funny if it weren't so pathetically sad...and true. ^^
     
  7. Misty

    Misty Banned

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2011
    Messages:
    2,787
    Likes Received:
    468
    From WZEP

    Former Sgt. Anthony Kaiser and Patrolman Rick Boblitt were fired on June 3rd of last year after charges of racial harassment were brought against them by a fellow officer Chuwan Boros, who is of Asian descent. However, they were reinstated pending an appeal due to procedural errors in the dismissal process. Chief Mark weeks immediately placed the two on administrative leave until the City Manager could complete the lengthy process.

    During the investigation, Kaiser and Boblitt admitted in their written statements that they engaged in harassing conduct but only in jest. Witnesses told those investigating Boblitt and Kaiser that they’d heard Boblitt speaking to the victim in a mocking Asian accent, and calling him names like “Kung Fu Panda,” the report said.

    After the additional hearing, then City Manager Sara Bowers upheld their termination. Bowers said in a statement in September of 2015, “Therefore, based on the findings during the investigation concerning the termination of Sgt. Anthony Kaiser and Officer Rock Boblitt, the recommendation for termination has been upheld.” Bowers has since resigned and many feel her handling of the whole matter may have contributed to her hasty departure.

    Kaiser and Boblitt have filed suit against the city for wrongful termination. Patrolman Rick Boblitt had been a police officer for 16 years and Sgt. Anthony Kaiser had been a supervisor for 5 years.

    City Attorney Clayton Adkinson told the council that, after consultation with a labor attorney and Chief Mark Weeks, it might be better to go through the mediation process rather than an arbitration – which would become public record. “If we go to arbitration, the council cannot meet in executive session. The results would be open (to the public.)”

    In what is likely to be a messy public fight exposing non-uniform standards across city departments and the apparent violation of the officer’s employment rights, the council voted unanimously to proceed with mediation. The City Attorney will notify the officer’s attorneys this week.
     

Share This Page