Last week’s appointment of Rod Anderson as Manager of Lake Chelan Reclamation District only further punctuates the deep differences between the current Board of Directors and the previous management team.
The naming of Anderson as the permanent replacement for previous manager Kem Carr, coincided with the serving of yet another claim for damages by a former employee.
Brent Winters is now asking the Lake Chelan Reclamation District for $2.5 million for creating a hostile work environment which led to his resignation as District Field Manager. In his resignation letter, dated January 25th, Winters stated that work conditions had quote “become intolerable and have affected my health as well as my wife’s.”
Former Reclamation District Manager Kem Carr filed a similar claim for damages shortly after being fired on January 11th. He has since filed a formal lawsuit seeking monetary damages from the district. It is likely the district will not respond to Winters’ claim for damages which could in turn lead to another formal lawsuit being filed.
The firing, resignation and subsequent legal action, came after years of disagreement between management at the district and its Board of Directors. In April of 2010 the board hired an outside law firm to conduct an independent workplace investigation in response to employee complaints.
The lead attorney on the investigation concluded that both the board of directors and members of the management staff would benefit from formal training and strict adherence to district policies and procedures. The report included a list of 15 recommendations mostly directed towards future board behavior.
The board hired a second law firm to provide analysis in respect to one or more of the recommendations provided. In addition the board took exception to the billing for the original investigative report and also questioned the decision to make portions of the report available to the public. After briefly withholding payment an agreement was reached and the invoice for the original investigation was paid.
That set the stage for a change in board make up through a combination of election, resignation and appointment.
The current board asserts that district operations couldn’t be better, staff is content and the board is functioning well. The ousted management team sees it quite differently.
Now it’s all in the hands of highly paid attorneys to hopefully reach a settlement with the insurance companies before fight moves to the next round. There is one clear outcome already… there will be no winner.