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From: Donna Ward [mailto:swfgirl@hotmail.

Sent: Wednesday, June 18, 2014 2:50 PM
To: Dist1, John Manning; Dist2, Cecil Pendergrass; Dist3, Larry Kiker; Dist4, Brian Hamman; Dist5, Frank
Subject: Hostile Work Environment/Retaliation

Dear Commissioners:

On April 25, 2014, Glenn Johnson and I submitted separately to the County Manager a hostile
work environment complaint against assistant county manager Christine Brady. Since
submitting my complaint, I have continued to be treated in a hostile manner and
retaliated against by both the County Manager and Christine Brady. The environment has
become so toxic that it has adversely affected my health to the point that I requested FMLA
effective June 17, 2014 and have been referred by my family doctor to a specialist.

The same day I requested FMLA leave a volunteer attempted to reach me concerned about my
well-being. They informed me that my county cellular phone was no longer in service. Later
the same day the LCDAS office manager notified me of paperwork my doctor would need to
complete relating to my FMLA leave request. I asked him to put the forms on my desk and that
I would stop by later that evening to pick up. When I arrived at the shelter, my swipe card
would not work. I used my keys to gain access into the building to retrieve my FMLA
paperwork. At that point I was concerned if I had been terminated from use of county
property. I tried to log onto citrix from home but could not do so. When I contacted Sprint,
they informed me that the county requested my phone be deactivated. All my county accesses
were immediately deactivated including my county cellular, computer access and my swipe
card to gain entry into the building before the County even received FMLA certification
paperwork from my doctor. I was given no advance notice before the deactivation occurred
and as a valued dedicated employee should have had to find out by a Sprint employee that my
employer deactivated my county cellular.

When the appropriate County departments were notified by county administration to
deactivate my county access, employees now assume I was terminated which is not the case. I
can understand why they may think termination because no county employee with the
exception of me have ever had their county accesses terminated while on FMLA. It is
inexcusable to have my reputation tarnished and be singled out, treated differently and unfairly
than all other county employees on FMLA leave. It is a clear act of retaliation by my

I sent an email to Christine Brady and the management team on Monday notifying them that I
would be beginning FMLA leave on Tuesday and that the deputy director Glenn Johnson, would
be acting director during my absence. However, Dave Harner has been assigned the interim
department director for Animal Services until my return. I must again ask why Animal Services
is being singled out by the County Manager and his overriding standard practice and policy that
when a director is on leave for any reason their deputy director is in charge. Glenn is more than
competent and capable to run the department in my absence much like other department
deputy directors have done so when their director was on leave. Again, it is clearly an act of

Animal Services has been accused of not handling the Speronis case properly. I can assure you,
as will the State Attorney's Office, that it was handled properly. The County Manager has also
stated to other individuals and never to me that our officers are too heavy handed and that he
is receiving complaints from the public. Why would the county manager share that information
with the external public but not with the department director. The department has a citation
policy for officers to follow. This is to ensure continuity, fairness and equity when a pet owner
receives a citation. The pet owner is also given 30-days to comply and the citation is then
dismissed. During my tenure, education has always first the first option and enforcement
always the last resort. Our officers do an exceptional job based upon community demand and
lack of adequate staffing levels.

I submitted to Christine Brady on April 5, 2014 a business case for adding additional officer
positions and also included recommendations how to pay for those new positions without
adding additional expenses to our budget for salaries. I have never received a response that
she even received the document. I can document dozens of other incidents where I have asked
for approval to fill staff positions or approval for out of county officer training that have taken
up to seven weeks or never responded to at all. It has impeded my ability to operate our
department efficiently and I would expect greater response and support from an assistant
county manager.

I have expressed my concerns due to the County Manager's gag order on Animal Services not to
provide proactive press releases at all. We were informed we would need to get Christine's
approval and when we do so it is never approved. Animal Services has now gone from a
proactive to a reactive department and the media has noticed. This has led to Fox 4 requesting
emails from myself, the County Manager and Christine Brady because they feel we are hiding
things from the public. Our relationship with the has damaged our relationship with the media
and also will harm animals if we are unable to ask for help from the public especially during
large-scale hoarding impoundments when we need the public to adopt.

Last week I had contacted the County Manager via email to inquire about the status of my
complaint due to the hostile working conditions and recent retaliation. I have not received a
response to my email. There are serious unwarranted infractions being taken against county
employees by the County Manager and Christine Brady. Their management style has been that
of fear and intimidation and it has become a dictatorship.

Since working at the county for 6+ years, I have always appreciated the huge support received
by the commission. I have also always had the support of county administration. That has
completely changed since the new county manager was hired and Christine Brady was
promoted to Assistant County Manager only being in the position less than three months to
date. I have had the honor of meeting many dedicated hard-working county employees who
are truly committed to making our community a better place for our residents. Sending this
email to you will most likely be the end of my career with the County. However, I morally felt
an obligation to notify you of my concerns for the future of the County under current
management. I only hope at least no other director will have to suffer at the hands of these
individuals as I have had to endure. I thank you in advance of allowing me the opportunity to
voice my concerns.

Donna Ward, Director, Lee County Domestic Animal Services

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