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Topic: croneyism, racism or county politics in HR
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

After reading some of the records in the case of Shenelle Miller Webb vs Genesee County, Donita Pikes, and Anita Galajda (13100988 cd Neithercutt), the only thing obvious is the Genesee County Human Resources office is an office in disarray.

The case is under reconsideration in the Genesee County Court and there is a portion in the Federal Court, so I have more documents to read. However what I have read so far raises several questions that need to be explored:

1) Do some Genesee County Commissioners micromanage the HR department regarding their hiring practices?

2) What role does race and/or personal preferences play in the discipline meted out by the HR staff?

3) Is the hiring process circumvented at times by department heads in regards to the posting of positions?

4) Do some departments in the county, such as HR, foster hostile work environments?

5) When an employee is cited for being dishonest, untrustworthy, and resistant to the HR Director, why is there no discipline record?

6) When HR employees make errors , with sometimes serious repercussions, why is there not even a verbal warning in the file?


Last edited by untanglingwebs on Fri Dec 19, 2014 12:03 pm; edited 1 time in total
Post Wed Dec 17, 2014 3:58 pm 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

Anita Galajda was promoted to Assistant Director of the Genesee County Human Resources in January of 2013 without the position being posted internally or publicly. Her credentials include a BBA in Management from Northwoods University and a Masters in Negotiation and Dispute Resolution from Creighton University. She is shown starting in the HR department in 2006 and worked with the police bargaining units.

Director of HR, Donita Pikes was selected by the Genesee County Commissioners, as are all Directors. It was a communication from Pikes that cited Galajda as being dishonest, untrustworthy, and resistant to Pikes authority. It was the policy within he department to use certain screening documents in the hiring process. Galajda allegedly told Pikes she was using these screening processes when Pikes discovered the document were not being used at all. Despite lying, testimony by Pikes revealed there was no disciplinary action taken.

Errors by a representative in HR included an error in Omar Sims tax exemptions which resulted in a great cost to Sims. Sims was furious that there was no verbal reprimand or other notice placed in the file.

The same HR representative cancelled the insurance of the son of Shenelle Miller Webb in error.
Post Thu Dec 18, 2014 2:09 am 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

Shenelle Miller-Webb was promoted to the position or HR representative from a position in the County Parks Building and grounds Department. She has both a Bachelors and a Masters in Human Resources. She went through an oral interview and submitted a writing sample during the selection process. Miller-Webb has nothing negative in her file.

Former Secretary for the Genesee County Commissioners, Deanna Turner, also applied for he position. She had a bachelors degree in English.

Pikes stated she warned Miller-Webb that Galajda was looking for an excuse to write her up. Galajda was not party in the previous selection process. Pikes expressed her concern that she feared Miller-Webb was n danger after Corporation Counsel Celeste Bell requested a copy of Miller-Webb's application in order to review her qualifications. County attorney Schwartz claimed any communication with Bell was privileged.

Testimony by Commissioner Ted Henry revealed he was the individual who went to Bell regarding the qualifications of Miller-Webb. Deanna Turner was leaving the Commissioner Office because of personal issues. Henry did not want her to leave the office. Turner told Henry she applied for the job in HR and indicated she had the qualifications. Henry did not know her degree was in English. When he was not selected, Henry asked about the credentials of Miller-Webb.
Post Thu Dec 18, 2014 2:34 am 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

The testimony gets a little shaky when Henry disputes alleged testimony from Turner. Turner allegedly testified she was told by Henry that she did not get the job because of race. Turner is white and Miller-Webb is black. She also stated Henry told her she should sue the county. Henry denied and said he would never tell an employee to sue the county.

Henry stated Turner was having problems with other in the commissioners office. Henry encouraged her to take a leave and not quit.


Last edited by untanglingwebs on Thu Dec 18, 2014 7:45 am; edited 1 time in total
Post Thu Dec 18, 2014 2:41 am 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

Commissioner Omar Sims was not in favor of the selection Of Galajda as the HR Assistant Director because there was no posting and interview process. The process was not open to everyone in the HR office. He noted how Stephanie Howard had a comparable position as the Director of the office of Equity and Diversity before the department was eliminated by the County Commission.

Sims stated he was a part of the decision that removed the previous HR Director. He supported Pikes, but stated how early on he expressed his dissatisfaction and concerns with the department. He questioned the lack of diversity in employment selections. He was also upset about the error in his tax exemptions and said he believe the issue was swept "under he rug".

Sims stated that information from this department was frequently leaked and leaks in the department were common knowledge. He was upset that Anita Galajda fired Miller Webb over an alleged leak when Pikes was on a stress leave."There is bias in that department" said Sims. He attempted to stop the firing and told how it became "not a pleasant experience."

Sims alleged there were attempts to circumvent him in some decisions, but that he was on the parent committee that oversaw the department and he heard from other commissioners. The county dropped the ball, said Sims.


Last edited by untanglingwebs on Fri Dec 19, 2014 12:06 pm; edited 1 time in total
Post Thu Dec 18, 2014 3:04 am 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

Sims confronted Galajda and told her she wouldn't be sitting there when he testified if people in the department did not talk and if she said she didn't talk, she would be a liar. The department leaked information even when Steve Stratton was HR Director, aid Sims.

Sims stated he was warned to be careful of HR and he believed individuals within the department were undermining the authority of Pikes based on some of his experiences with the department.


Last edited by untanglingwebs on Fri Dec 19, 2014 12:07 pm; edited 1 time in total
Post Thu Dec 18, 2014 3:13 am 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

Sims was very vocal throughout his testimony about the job performance of Galajda and her investigative skills. Show me her skills in investigations and in making recommendations. "it could have been a witch hunt" said Sims about the termination of Miller-Webb. "Anita wanted Shenelle bullied out"

As part of her job (Galajda) dealing with Sheriff Department hiring and bargaining union, Sims stated Galajda had a conflict-of-interest when she did the paperwork that hired her husband, There was a reference to his being under the influence when he was involved in an accident on duty that resulted in litigation. He was suspended and not fired. She (Galajda) signed off on it. Part of the culture in that department. She should have removed herself. The recommendation came from HR and Pickell signed off on it. (Michael Galajda was on probation at the time of the accident)

cases consolidated: 12-99077 NI & 12-098568 NI

Sims stated he would have written her up several times for insubordination.
Post Thu Dec 18, 2014 7:43 am 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

The termination of Miller-Webb was allegedly because Miller-Webb told Monica Kannia in the Health Department of a transfer of Sharon Hill from the Veterans Office to the Health Department. Kannia made a complaint to Jeanne Thick in the Veterans Office.

Thick was allowed to sign an affidavit although her statements were hearsay and based on her exchange with Kannai. In Pikes discussion of the issue the dates did not match of the alleged incident.

There was a discussion of allegations of attendance and suspected drinking discipline issues with Kannai. While Pikes described these as not offenses for termination, they were high on the list of examples of misconduct within the county policies.

So Miller-Webb was terminated allegedly over a conversation based on the word of a white employee suspected of substance abuse issues. There was no discussion if Kannai was ever drug tested when these incidents occurred.

Galajda told Sims that she was responsible for the termination which occurred while Pikes was on a stress leave, The attorneys did not llow any discussion about whether this stress leave was work related.
Post Thu Dec 18, 2014 8:03 am 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

This lawsuit raises several issues. Why would a department that appears to be notorious for their lack of disciplinary actions suddenly discipline a minority employee for an action, which if true, should have been a reprimand. Why is the allegation of failure to adhere to policy and lying about the failure to your supervisor not even worth a verbal reprimand.


The lack of accountability within this department goes to some of the complaints that led to the lawsuit involving the Register of Deeds office.

This case also involves commission intervention in the issuance of veterans cards. The logical choice would have been the Clerks office which is legislatively responsible for maintaining veteran records. The Clerk also had the software to produce the veterans cards,

Some commissioner promised to support the Clerks office for the production of these cards. At the last minute the decision went to have the cards produced by the veterans office. (Shows you can't trust the word of some commissioners) This does not include the additional cost of outfitting the Veterans office with the software and equipment to produce the cards.

Veterans activists have expressed dismay how this move means disabled and senior vets have to go to two separate buildings and deal with parking issues when they could have had a one-stop experience.

This raises the question about how much influence Jeanne Thick has in the county. Also Ted Henry was allegedly influential in the card fiasco.
Post Thu Dec 18, 2014 8:23 am 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

Sims and I have not always agreed in the past, but I can't help wondering if he was absolutely correct when he said this was a "witch hunt".

Shenelle Miller-Webb was a 12 year Genesee County employee with an impeccable record, despite having worked in at least 2 separate departments. She had at least 2 glowing recommendations from other employees who worked with her.

The August 15, 2013, affidavit of Roberta Campbell supports the position of Miller-Webb that she never leaked the information alleged by Galajda.

Campbell was working in the Genesee County Treasurer's Office on June 11, 2013 when she was approached by Anita Galajda for a private conversation. Galada asked Campbell if she had received a "heads up". Campbell asked what that meant, to which Galajda then asked why Campbell had requested a look at her personnel file. Campbell informed Galajda that she was in the process of applying for other positions and she wanted to ensure there was nothing negative in her file.

Campbell wrote that she was informed later that day by Shenelle Miller-Webb that she had been selected for the job in the Veterans Office. Campbell was employed by the Veteran Office at the time of her affidavit.

Campbell wrote that she asked Miller-Webb why the Veteran's Department employee, Sharon Hill, wanted to return to the Health department. According to Campbell, Miller-Webb replied she could not release that information.


Last edited by untanglingwebs on Fri Dec 19, 2014 1:01 pm; edited 1 time in total
Post Fri Dec 19, 2014 12:31 pm 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

In her legal pleadings (Common Allegations #9) Shenelle Miller-Webb states how after she was hired as a Human Resource Representative, she was warned by Donita Pikes that Anita Galajda believed Miller-Webb was only hired because of her race and was not qualified. Galajda was not part of the selection committee.

In my opinion, this raises the question of whether it was Galajda that created the questioning of Miller-Webb's credentials by Ted Henry and Celeste Bell.
Post Fri Dec 19, 2014 12:58 pm 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

Count 1, Wrongful Discharge, of the legal proceedings details the termination events. Miller-Webb declares she was a just cause employee with the county.

On June 11, 2013 Miller-Webb asserts she was confronted by Galada about information allegedly leaked from the Human Resources department, After replying that she had not leaked any information, Galajda reportedly stated she could get written statements to prove Miller-Webb leaked information. In her pleadings, Miller-Webb says she was never provided with any such statements at that time.

The pleadings continue with that statements that a "Loudermill Disciplinary Hearing" was to be held within one hour of Miller-Webb's notification. Miller-Webb says she again denied the allegations, upon which she was given an option to resign or face a five day suspension, followed by an undefined layoff .
Post Fri Dec 19, 2014 1:20 pm 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

The pleadings continue with the termination of Miller-Webb on June 18,2013, "without any review of the evidence against her or any kind of complete investigation being conducted prior to her discharge."

21. "She was not allowed to confront her accusers or at a minimum review the statements or provided with a complete lit of the employees that were interviewed.

22. The information stated in the notice of disciplinary action form is completely unsupported and is false.

23. Moreover, the purported supporting documents were not received by Plaintiff for review until after she was discharged and not until she made a request for her personnel file on June 20, 2013.

24. She was only able to review the documents after they were turned over to her
by Corporation Counsel Celeste Bell, along with her personnel file on June 24, 2013.

25. Furthermore, the statements are unsigned. One of the statements is hearsay and the other is false."
Post Fri Dec 19, 2014 1:38 pm 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

30) "It was also discovered that at least one other employee was interviewed by Defendant Anita Galajda in connection with her investigation. However, there were no written statements taken from this employee to complete the investigation.

31) This information was intentionally hidden from Plaintiff.

32) In addition, employees that could have provided credible evidence were omitted from the investigation."
Post Fri Dec 19, 2014 6:17 pm 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

35) "The discharge is based off one statement that has not been cross examined by Plaintiff.

36) Just cause is not just any reason.

37) Just cause requires that an employee be provided notice of the charges against her and a meaningful opportunity to be heard before discipline is imposed. The employee is entitled to know the reason for the discipline and be given sufficient detail to respond."
Post Fri Dec 19, 2014 6:25 pm 
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