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Brooksville manager cleared in worker's verbal abuse complaint

BROOKSVILLE — A report issued Monday exonerated City Manager Jennene Norman-Vacha of complaints filed last month by a city employee who accused her of verbal abuse and creating a hostile work environment.

The report issued by attorney Kenneth Warnstadt, who was hired by Mayor Frankie Burnett last month to investigate the matter, said he was unable to find sufficient evidence to support the grievance filed June 7 by administrative assistant Jeanne Griffin Moore.

In her complaint, Moore alleged that Norman-Vacha swore at her on at least one occasion. She also asked that Norman-Vacha no longer be her supervisor. Moore also alleged she was owed an undisclosed amount of back pay for overtime she worked dating back to her hiring in 2009.

Warnstadt stated in his report that he interviewed several city employees, including Norman-Vacha, but was unable after two attempts to get Moore to commit to a face-to-face interview at City Hall. Reached at her home Monday, Moore said she was physically unable to attend those meetings due to a back injury.

According to the report, Moore alleged that she was chastised by Norman-Vacha when she presented her with information that the city had won a National Trail Designation award from the U.S. Interior Department.

Warnstadt stated that without Moore's participation, he was unable to fully address specific facts surrounding the complaint. But based on the subjects he interviewed, he determined that Norman-Vacha didn't violate city employment policies regarding harassment and hostile working conditions.

"As to those interviewed who may have been subject to the City Manager's disapproval, all agreed that any disapproval was not directed personally at any employee," he wrote.

Warnstadt also said that as an exempt salaried employee, Moore wasn't entitled to overtime compensation under the state's wage and hour guidelines.

Logan Neill can be reached at (352) 848-1435 or lneill@sptimes.com.

Brooksville manager cleared in worker's verbal abuse complaint 07/18/11 [Last modified: Monday, July 18, 2011 10:57pm]
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