Columbia County’s Human Resources Committee voted against rehiring an employee Friday meeting.
The committee voted 3-2 to deny a grievance filed by Stacy Davenport, the former Crisis and Alcohol and Other Drugs Program coordinator.
Davenport was fired in mid-May and claimed in a grievance filed with the county’s Human Resources Department that she was not given a reason for her firing. The grievance sough reinstatement of her position.
At Friday’s meeting, committee members went into lengthy closed session to discuss Davenport’s grievance, along with other agenda items. Davenport — who had worked for the county’s Department of Health and Human Services since 1998 — was invited into the closed session as a courtesy, to answer follow-up questions and provide clarification to committee members.
“A couple folks had some follow-ups,” said Human Resources Director Joseph Ruf. “They often feel like, ‘You know what, here’s a long-term employee; let’s extend a courtesy.’”
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If Davenport chooses, she can request a review of the Human Resources Committee’s vote by an independent hearing officer. In that process, an outside individual, appointed by the county board chairman, would hold an administrative hearing to uphold or deny the Human Resources Committee’s decision.
The vote to deny Davenport’s reinstatement comes after the grievance was tabled at last month’s meeting, as only four of the five committee members were present. County Supervisor Bruce Rashke, the committee chairman, was absent due to a family emergency.
With only four members present, a vote could have resulted in a tie vote, which constitutes a rejection of any motion. According to Ruf, having only four members present also results in a quorum, where County Board Chairman Vern Gove of Portage could not break any tie votes.
Davenport was coordinator for the county’s medication-assisted treatment program. The program allows for residents of the county with opioid addiction to receive treatment, which can include treatment with anti-addiction drugs.
The program now includes county jail inmates, which would allow inmates with addiction to opioids to receive a dose of anti-addiction drugs before release.