A Hewitt employee said she has continued to face harassment and retaliation at work since filing a discrimination complaint with the Texas Workforce Commission, according to a letter her attorney sent to the city last week.
The decision by Mike Dixon, who took over as city attorney last month, to release employee complaints previously kept confidential has exacerbated retaliation against Belinda Kay “Katie” Allgood, the city’s managing director of administration, according to the letter. It focuses on comments by city council candidate A.C. “Tony” Martinez and refers to Allgood’s previous complaints against Kurt Krakowian, who resigned from the council, Mayor Ed Passalugo and council member James Vidrine.
“By allowing and encouraging Mr. Martinez to participate in city council meetings and to target Ms. Allgood at work, the city is complicit with both the language and substance of the public, online comments (by Martinez),” the letter states.
Allgood’s attorney, Ryan Johnson, attributes several comments to Martinez, including:
- “Okay, so we have a case where a employee that has ‘daddy’ issues hooks up with the main cheese, and every council member was aware and did nothing? Wow, each of you deserve what is headed your way, also on her annual review (Allgood) who provides the knee pads? SMDH.”
- “Allgood got the job because she’s great on her knees, that’s it. The End.”
- “Allgood was better off claiming Miles assaulted her, she would be a millionaire #metoo #daddyissues #purplehair #girlengines”
“By way of reminder, Councilman Krakowian publicly berated (and attempted to publicly shame and embarrass) Ms. Allgood in a city council meeting on the basis of her relationship with City Manager Adam Miles, despite the city having no policy against such consensual relationships and the council having no issues with such relationships until after Allgood’s discrimination complaint was filed,” the letter states.
Dixon said his release of a complaint by Allgood against Krakowian, and other complaints city officials filed against Krakowian, was in compliance with state law. There is no “confidential” classification for employee complaints under the state’s public information law, Dixon said. The city administration also delayed its response to Krakowian’s initial request for the complaints, which prevented Dixon from seeking an opinion from the Texas Attorney General’s Office on whether the complaints should be released, he said. The initial request was made before Dixon was hired to represent the city starting Sept. 17.
The state’s Public Information Act prevents public entities from claiming many exceptions to the law if the entity does not meet statutory deadlines in its response.
Also, the act of releasing the complaints does not equate to responsibility for a third party making inappropriate Facebook posts, Dixon said.
Johnson’s firm was retained in May to represent Allgood in her allegations of discrimination, harassment, disparate treatment, workplace bullying and defamation by Passalugo, Krakowian and Vidrine. She initially filed a complaint with the city May 21 along with then-city employee Cassie Rose Muske. Muske left her position with the city Sept. 28. Since the original filing, several employees have filed complaints against the three members of the council. Allgood also has a pending discrimination complaint filed with the Texas Workforce Commission Civil Rights Division.
The Texas Rangers and the Texas Workforce Commission are investigating.
The council’s direct and indirect attempts at retaliation have been persistent for almost 120 days with no apparent end in sight, Johnson wrote in Thursday’s letter.
He reiterated his request that the city’s investigation into Allgood’s initial complaints be released, Passalugo resign or have his job responsibilities forcibly removed, the investigation be reopened to consider Passalugo and Vidrine’s ongoing, persistent acts of retaliation, and the council take substantial action to address findings of discrimination and ongoing retaliation.