Published DateOSSIPEE — A recently-demoted county jail employee will air his grievances against two county commissioners in public at a meeting scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.
Dean Perry made his grievance public after he was suspended and demoted from the rank of sergeant to corrections officer. The hearing will begin at 2 p.m. at the county administration building. Perry filed his grievance against commission chair David Sorensen and commissioner Dorothy Solomon for their alleged actions after he was punished.
"Since filing my harassment grievance on June 13, these two commissioners have acted in an unprofessional and biased manner," said Perry. "They collectively and knowingly made several false statements, broken several county and state policies and have violated my civil rights."
Perry is asking for an impartial investigation.
Perry is at least the third county employee to file a grievance against commissioners. The first came over the winter from then human resources director Robin Reade who filed a grievance against commissioner Asha Kenney. The second grievance came from nursing home employee Barbara Woodburn who filed one against Sorensen and Solomon. The commission hired attorneys to investigate the grievances filed by Reade and Woodburn.
Last week, Perry read a lengthy letter that outlined a number of problems he has faced in his attempt to have a fair hearing. However, he didn't discuss the events that led to his demotion or the harassment grievance itself.
Commissioners cut Perry off while he read the letter because they were concerned he would leak non-public information about subjects such as security.
After last week's meeting, Solomon asked reporters if they thought it was "strange" that the latest grievances were filed against the two commissioners who are up for re-election.
"Could this be seen as anything other than a political scheme?" asked Solomon.
When asked who and why would such a scheme be concocted, Solomon said the purpose would be to prevent her and Sorensen from being re-elected. She had "no idea" who was behind it.
But Perry said Solomon and Sorensen supported his suspension and demotion while commissioner Asha Kenney felt his punishment was too harsh. Perry also accused Sorensen and Solomon from making decisions without Kenney.
Perry had asked the commissioners to not allow the human resources generalist to be involved with his case because of an unspecified direct conflict of interest. But that request had not been honored, said Perry. In spite of the alleged conflict, the HR generalist was put in charge of Perry's case, said Perry.
"In fact, since my grievance was filed, these two commissioners have not only completely ignored my request but have allowed this individual to deny me access to my own file and allowed her to pass out my personnel file to several people without my knowledge," said Perry. "When I was finally allowed to view my file, I noticed important documentation concerning my grievance had been removed."
According to Perry, the HR generalist's decision to review the file with the corrections department superintendent and captain was made contrary to county policy that states only the human resources director had the authority to look at personnel files without the commission's consent.
Perry said on July 11 Sorensen told him that the investigation into the grievance had been completed and that Perry had to share his side of the story with the board. Perry said he told commissioners he was unaware the investigation even took place.
"Sorensen informed me the investigator did not have to speak with me in order to complete his investigation," said Perry.
At last week's meeting Sorensen said it was up to Perry to present his side of the story.
Perry also said he was "shocked" to learn the investigation had been conducted by a corrections department superintendent in another county who didn't actually do an investigation but instead simply wrote a "peer review" letter to corrections department superintendent Jason Johnson. Perry said the investigation was conducted without Kenney's knowledge.
"The fact that Sorensen and Solomon excluded Kenney in this process further proves they intend to handle my grievance as they see fit despite breaking many laws," said Perry. "I find it completely unprofessional and unethical that these commissioners are allowing superintendent Johnson to use this personal letter as a formal investigative report into my grievance against CCDOC when the letter clearly states its writer is not an attorney and had not completed an independent investigation and is intended to be used only as peer review from one superintendent to another."
Sorensen said the commission has already tried to hold three non-public hearings for Perry.
"In each case he failed to provide his information," said Sorensen.
But Sorensen clarified the first hearing was excused because Perry wasn't given access to his own personnel file. But in the other two meetings Perry failed to come in prepared, said Sorensen who later added Perry canceled one meeting because he was on vacation when the hearing was to take place.
"He declined to give his side," said Sorensen. "We gave him ample opportunity."