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Madeira Beach human resources director's workplace hostility claims dismissed

MADEIRA BEACH — After several weeks of investigation, charges of a hostile work environment within City Hall were dismissed Monday as baseless.

The accusations were made in May and this month by city human resources director Deborah Cline.

She claimed that Mayor Travis Palladeno and Commissioners Robin Vander Velde and Nancy Oakley have interfered with her ability to perform her job and that their behavior was "unwelcome" and "retaliatory."

Cline said the officials had disparaged her in newspaper articles, questioned her ability to maintain the security of employee records, and sabotaged her efforts to recruit and hire.

"I see nothing in the complaint which describes a legally hostile workplace or harassment," Interim City Manager Bill Mallory said Monday in a letter to Cline.

Mallory said that after speaking with Cline, reviewing news reports and meeting minutes, and consulting with city labor attorney Tom Gonzalez, he determined that none of the actions she cited were illegal or a substantiated grievance.

Responding to Cline's request for "remedial measures," Mallory said she would be "allowed to perform (her) essential job functions," but he also cautioned that the commissioners could direct him to "make changes that meet their wishes and the city's current needs."

As an example, Mallory pointed to a recent decision to have an outside firm do final background checks for city manager candidates.

He told Cline that it's the city's position that only the city manager can "give statements or answer questions for the news media."

Reached for comment Monday, Cline released a formal statement saying that her issues "are being resolved with mutual respect" and within city policies.

"To make any further comment at this time would be counterproductive," Cline said.

Madeira Beach human resources director's workplace hostility claims dismissed 06/28/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 28, 2011 3:14pm]
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