The former finance director of Killeen, Texas, is still trying to find a resolution for her termination claim against the city after almost two years. According to her complaint, the city was in violation of the Texas Whistleblower Act. This act protects government and public employees from retaliation by state or local government for reporting violations in good faith.
According to the complaint, the city manager asked the plaintiff to process a check to cover a $10,500 dinner that included alcohol. The plaintiff would not approve and process the check because city funds cannot be used on alcohol. She also claims that the city manager gave a $10,000 raise to the city’s spokeswoman without having prior approval by the council. The plaintiff alleges that her blowing the whistle was the catalyst that led to her termination.
The woman oversaw Killeen’s Fleet Services Division, which was the subject of a two-month internal investigation. According to the city, the investigation’s findings were the cause of the woman’s termination. She attempted to appeal her termination and the review board decided that she should be reinstated, but the city manager did not agree with the decision and rejected the board’s ruling. A fleet services technician reportedly also lost his job for being a whistleblower, but dropped his case against the city because of a lack of funding for court costs.
For her case, the former Texas finance director is asking the court for damages between $200,000 and $1 million dollars for her case against the city. Representation for the city of Killeen stated that the city believes that the woman’s termination was legal and justified and had nothing to do with the woman being a whistleblower. Workers who find themselves in similar situations may first elect to take up the matter with their supervisors. If the issues remain unresolved, the employees may wish to file claims against their employers. In successfully navigated cases, the claimants may be awarded monetary compensation for their financial losses, as well as be reinstated to their former positions, if applicable.
Source: kdhnews.com, “Whistleblower suit against Killeen still far from resolution“, Natalie Stewart, Dec. 7, 2014