Evans concerned over alleged policy violations

During the report of the Human Resources Committee by chair Mary Emma Evans at Monday’s Henderson City Council meeting, the council woman expressed concern over what she characterized as a violation of city policy.

Her concern was that policy was not being followed regarding an employee who recently had major surgery. Evans referred to an employee whom the council supervises directly.

The city council exercises direct supervision over three employees: the City Attorney, the City Clerk, and the City Manager. City Attorney John Zollicoffer and City Clerk Dianne White were present at Monday night’s meeting.

Evans stated that the council had not taken the employee’s health risks seriously. She said that the employee comes to work when he wants to, and that the city could be liable.

The Human Resources Committee chair informed the council that she had observed the employee drive a city car with a council member in it. Council member Bobby Gupton freely admitted later in the discussion that he was the council member who rode with the employee, but indicated that he saw no culpability in his actions.

Evans stated that city policy indicates that employees should have a doctor’s slip before returning to work. She said that the council was not enforcing the policy.

Council member Lynn Harper said that the matter was discussed at the Human Resources Committee meeting on September 21. She went on to say that the employee in question was there, and had said that he would obtain a doctor’s excuse this week.

Evans countered that when one is “heavily medicated, you don’t make good decisions”. She indicated that the council is responsible for the employee’s health. When Evans asked Zollicoffer for a legal opinion, he stated that if the policy is written in the manual that way, it has to be enforced.

In the City Personnel Policy and Procedure Manual, Section 9, Policy 9.07, Sick Leave – Conditions For Taking (b), it states: “The employee’s supervisor, department head, or the City Manager may require a physician’s certificate concerning the nature of the illness and the employee’s physical capacity to resume duties for each occasion on which an employee uses sick leave.”