According to Wood, he was terminated Jan. 25 by Domidion not because he “wasn’t working out,” but because he “stopped playing along” with “unethical and illegal” procedures.
According to the administrative manual of 2007, all employees are at will, with the employer and employee retaining mutual right to terminate the employment relationship without warning, notice or cause.
Wood, however, has cited KRS 344.280(1), which states it is unlawful to “retaliate or discriminate in any manner against a person because he has opposed a practice declared unlawful.”
The fiscal court approved 20 set rules for Wood’s appeal. Cowan said the rules single out his client specifically and go against the county’s own administrative employee manual.
Several of the rules name “Wood” specifically and not as the “appellant,” which Cowan said is discriminative. Wood is not allowed to subpoena or question witnesses.
County attorney Brian Goettl, who wrote the new rules, said Wood is not being singled out and it’s possible that these new grievance rules will be applied in other cases, if any, in the future.
“We have not had an employee (appeal) filed in 15 years,” Goettl said. “(As far as witnesses), he can’t subpoena, because the fiscal court can’t subpoena or compel anybody to appear except our own employees. So, we can’t confer subpoena powers to anybody.”
According to Goettl, no testimony will be sworn in because the court doesn’t have the ability to punish anyone for lying to the court unless they are an employee.
Cowan argued that a rule removing Judge-Executive Neal Cassity from presiding in the appeal goes against administrative procedures that the judge-executive will resolve grievances and have final settlement.
Goettl said it was a recommendation of the judge-executive to not preside, and that either way, it is the fiscal court which has the final decision in any county resignation or termination.
“Why is my client singled out by name in these rules that will only apply at his appeal?” Cowan said. “It does not follow your own guidelines for grievances filed.”
Cowan addressed the court, but no comment was made by any magistrate before they moved to an executive session, excusing the public for the second meeting in a row to discuss possible litigation concerning Griggs, the former EMS employee who is also represented by Cowan in her sexual-harassment complaint against Domidion.
Wood also claims Domidion purposely pulled the ambulance help from going to the Feb. 11 accident.
Also, in his filed grievance, he also alleges Domidion “tampered with public records,” “set Lt. Griggs up to fail,” and gave instruction for employees to “engage in unethical and illegal behavior.” Wood said the evidence of all of his accusations and more will be presented at Monday’s appeal.
The appeal hearing will be closed to the public unless Wood requests it be open, according to a rule approved Tuesday. The same rule also states the fiscal court can close the proceedings to the public by a majority vote.
Several magistrates said after the meeting that they expected Monday’s hearing to be open. But Goettl said Tuesday that until Wood and Cowan make a request, the hearing will begin closed as a personnel meeting to “protect the rights of county employees.”
Calls to Domidion on Tuesday were not returned by press time.