The Inyo County Grand Jury has found that an un-named Inyo County department or departments have improperly handled new employees and failed to follow the rules when terminating new, probationary workers.
The report states that the Jury received complaints of improper treatment and termination of probationary employees. Jurors said all of these workers had advanced degrees in their field and were upset that they had been terminated from their probationary jobs without cause and without any notice that their performance was unsatisfactory.
The grand jury did not specify which department was the subject of their investigation, but in July of 2008, a social worker staged a one woman protest outside of the Health and Human Services Department in Bishop after being fired for what she called unfair county termination policies. Teri Goodson said that she did not know why she was fired, nor did anyone from the county tell her why she was fired
While Goodson was the only person on the street carrying a picket sign last summer, Sierra Wave received phone calls from a group of current county employees that supported the protest and hoped the efforts would shed light on the situation.
The jury’s investigation found that Inyo County does not follow personnel rules related to performance evaluations for probationary workers. The jury also found that there is a “lack of transparency and accountability in the termination process for probationary employees and this can lead to perceptions of abuse in County management’s handling of new-hires.”
The jury recommended formation of a whole new department to stay on top of personnel policy, including new-hires; get legal advice; quiz department heads on policy; and conduct regular formal training in personnel policies.