Sunday, July 29, 2012
TDCJ denies Backgate staffers request for assistance after retaliation and harassment
By Duane Stuart, Backgate GM
The Backgate staffer that was singled out and harassed after the Michelle Lyons story hit the website has been officially notified that his grievance regarding those issues was closed by TDCJ without action based on a review by Region III director Paul Morales. " It was obvious from the beginning that the issues that arose were based on long term harassment and retaliation". Said one of the attorneys working with the Backgate Website. " The machismo of the agency is astounding, how a taxpayer based agency can blatantly open itself up to slam dunk lawsuits from employees thereby costing Texas taxpayers millions is beyond me, at what point do they accept failure and move on?" the attorney went on to state. The case is being monitored closely by attorneys and state Legislators.
The charges were levied in a 12 page grievance action last month. Two different times the agency returned the grievance and failed to address the issues that are covered under the Texas penal code's whistle blower act. The Texas Board of Criminal Justice (TBCJ) became involved 2 weeks ago and in turn forwarded the incident to the TDCJ OIG ( Office of inspector General) who now has an active criminal case open on the topic. The harassment has been ongoing against staffers of the Backgate since the TDCJ Terrell unit scandal made news back in 2008 and drew a Legislative hearing by Senator John Whitmire. Since then, the TDCJ has basically put out a " seek and destroy" notice on anyone associated with this website. Only now has the full scope of harassment become obvious.
I personally think it's pretty cowardice to harass someone who is merely looking out for the rights of the everyday TDCJ employee and expressing an opinion allowed by the U.S. constitution. If someone in the administration was doing it, we wouldn't have to be in this position. The employees are your best and most important resource, without them, we are nothing and the media sees the bad side. Maybe you should have left Michelle Lyons in place to provide the buffer you once had. It's never wise to unfairly axe the the public information officer that knows where the bodies are buried so to speak.... more to come...