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2015-01-22

Frazier not going 'gently into that dark night' of unemployment

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

Pictured: Former city employee Joe Frazier


Former Bandera City Park Manager Kerry "Joe" Frazier has filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) after being terminated from municipal employment a second time.
In a Jan. 6 filing with the Texas Workforce Commission Civil Rights Division, Frazier claims discrimination and retaliation by City Administrator Lamar Schulz. In the document, Frazier alleges he was told he "was being discharged because my hearing is bad, I talk too loud and I am a whistle-blower."
He continued: "I believe I have been discriminated and retaliated against because of my disability (hearing) in violation of the Americans with Disability Act of 1990, as amended, and my age (66) in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, as amended."
The basis for Frazier's second termination on Dec. 14, 2014 was two complaints, one from county resident Sean Randall Mushrush and the other from a "Bob." Mushrush's complaint, filed on Sept. 5, accused Frazier of "harassing" Mushrush's girfriend about money Mushrush owed Frazier.
However, when asked about the complaint, Mushrush could not remember speaking with City Administrator Lamar Schulz. Further, Mushrush claimed that he and Frazier were friends.
A second compliant came via a "Bob" (last name not given). Apparently on Sept. 29, "Bob" called Schulz to complain about Frazier making numerous comments about "young girls in bikinis and female body parts," pointedly referencing women visiting City Park, as well as a current city employee. The complaint continued: "Bob is at a point where he does not want to take his family to the park and subject them to Mr. Frazier's comments."
The two new complaints prompted Schulz to terminate Frazier on Dec. 14, for inappropriate conduct.
Frazier's first termination had been on May 29 for alleged sexual harassment of a former female deputy marshal. However, on June 5, city council re-instated him with the caveat he be subject to a 90-day probationary period. During that time, Frazier also underwent a psychological evaluation. Ironically, Mushrush's complaint came on the last day of Frazier's probation.
Frazier also continues a quest for unemployment benefits stemming from the second termination. On Dec. 23, Frazier received word that the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) had approved unemployment benefits after an investigation determined that he had been laid off at the "convenience" of his employer - presumably due to the three-month time lapse between the complaints being lodged and Frazier's termination. The City of Bandera immediately appealed the decision.
When queried by a TWC counselor, Schulz explained that although the second set of incidents occurred in September, Frazier wasn't terminated until December because "I was dealing with budget and that was my primary issue." Schulz also wrote: "There is more stuff in his file. I just sent the two I felt were more serious. I got complaints on him on a regular basis."
Frazier was allowed to continue working from September through December although, according to Schulz, "His actions create a liability for the city."
In another document to the TWC, Schulz elaborated, "In June, July, September and October, 2014, I worked six and seven day weeks. Much was accomplished. I wish I had been able to terminate Mr. Frazier sooner. However, there were other priorities which ranked higher than his termination."
According to Mayor John Hegemier, the city has acquiesced to paying Frazier unemployment. However, as of Thursday, Jan. 15, a TWC hearing via a telephone conference was still scheduled for early next week to debate the matter.