When it just can’t get any worse for Island Transit before the Washington State Auditor’s Office audit is released, Island Transit affairs of state get worse. According to the Whidbey News-Times with my emphasis and abridgement:
Everett attorney Rodney Moody represents Latroleum Lawrence in a complaint for damages filed in Island County Superior Court on Aug. 29.
The lawsuit names Island Transit and Rose personally as defendants.
It is the second lawsuit filed against the beleaguered agency this year; financial difficulties forced transit officials to lay off employees and cut routes this summer.
. . .
The newest lawsuit states that Rose fired Lawrence, the only black person in the maintenance division, following a pre-termination hearing in April.
According to the complaint, Lawrence explained that, during the meeting with Rose and other representatives from Island Transit, the concerns about his performance were baseless.
The lawsuit states that Rose later testified at a Washington State Employment Security Department hearing that Lawrence raised his voice and became irate during the meeting.
Lawrence claims that he recorded the meeting on his iPhone and the recording proves that he spoke “in a calm and restrained matter.”
The lawsuit alleges that Rose fired Lawrence because of his race and age; he was replaced by someone younger who received a lower wage, according to the complaint.
. . .
He said Rose disseminated information about the meeting to the Washington State Employment Security Department. She claimed that Lawrence committed misconduct, he said.
The administrative judge found there was no misconduct and granted Lawrence unemployment benefits.
There you go. I warned last week any further fiscal stress to Island Transit would bring the whole ship down. That fiscal stress is most certainly incoming like a raging bull.
Editorial Comment: Pardon my ex-farmhand angry vernacular but this Beyond Stupid leadershit needs to be collectively gathered up in a wheelbarrow with pitchforks and put in a compost pile wrapped in log poles & fenceposts so the next generation can learn from these mistakes and take root in the compost to grow something better. Letters to the editor in the defense of one individual are thoughtful (recent example) but still? An administrative judge has came to the defense of a manager of maintainers who if he didn’t do his job would get passengers like me hurt and for his due diligence I salute Mr. Lawrence here, financial statements were not checked for their veracity resulting in no reserves, internet comments for weeks on Whidbey Newsgroup webpages were seeking answers about the termination of this very individual, an anonymous whistleblower letter has been sent to a State Senator who forwarded it to the State Auditor’s Office, there are legitimate fears Island Transit might go bankrupt, a State Auditor’s Office audit is due in the next 2-5 weeks and magically one Island Transit Boardmember is taking a two-month roadtrip out-of-state at the apex of this crisis? Okay, where are the people of Island County in collectively demanding new leadership for Island Transit with their petition?
One last thing on a personal level: If the next link round-up wasn’t until Thursday I sincerely would let my editors handle this. I wish there was some good news to write about as having to report on the implosion of Island Transit makes Joe deeply depressed, dismayed and most of all disgusted to the point of procrastination.